Former inspectors lead attack on the Good Food Guide

22 November 2007
Former inspectors lead attack on the Good Food Guide

A series of omissions of high-flying restaurants in this year's Which? Good Food Guide has sparked accusations that a new inspection and editorial regime has led to corners being cut.

The Consumers' Association-owned guide, part of the hospitality landscape since 1951, overhauled the way it inspected and reviewed restaurants for this year's edition. It has incorporated 300 reader-recommended restaurants within its 1,200 full entries.

But former inspectors led by veteran Catharine Steele-Kroon, who resigned over the changes last November, are concerned that this has led to a general lowering of standards and some glaring omissions.

Steele-Kroon told Caterer: "I didn't come across one instance of a restaurant omission that seemed to be based on real, solid, well-researched facts."

Another former inspector and editor, Jim Ainsworth, described the new regime as "penny-pinching" and said of this year's guide: "The word that occurs to me is careless. A lot of things simply appear to have been done in a rush."

St Martin's on the Isle in the Scilly Isles, rated 6/10 last year, has been omitted despite being listed as a main entry on the guide's map of the island. Executive head chef Kenny Atkinson said: "It's hurting us and I feel like we've been banging our heads against a brick wall."

Graham Garrett, chef and proprietor of the Michelin-starred West House in Biddenden, Kent, which was rated 5/10 last year, said he was "gobsmacked" to be left out this year.

But Which? has strongly denied the allegations. Head of book publishing Angela Newton conceded that some former inspectors had been "disgruntled" at the changes, but stressed that most of the inspection team was unchanged and there had been no reduction in standards.

"The overhaul has been enormous and all of that is in response to reader feedback," she said. "Sales are up and we've had some really good feedback from the majority of our readers."

The diners' guide and the missing restaurants >>

Alain Ducasse regains crown as most-starred chef >>
Gordon Ramsay's New York restaurant named top newcomer >>
Fat Duck named best UK restaurant by the Good Food Guide >>

By Nic Paton

E-mail your comments to Chris Druce]( inspectors lead attack on the Good Food Guide) here.

[The Caterer Blog]( Catch up with more news and gossip on the Caterer Blog here
[Newswire For the latest hospitality news, sign up for our e-mail news alerts.
The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking