By The Glass: John Lethlean on Food Writing and ‘Couscous for Comment’

John Lethlean has eaten a lot of good food. He’s eaten a lot of mediocre food too. As the chief restaurant reviewer for The Australian, his reviews echo around the country, and occasionally polarise readers.

Lethlean joins Chris Komorek and Ali Robertson on By The Glass to share his experiences working as a food journalist for the last 21 years and how he believes the industry has changed over that time.

“Everybody has discovered that a free meal and a free bottle of wine is a great thing and they don’t do anything to harm the possibility of that gravy train hitting the breaks,” Lethlean says of the emergence of uncritical food coverage, often in exchange for free meals and clicks, sometimes known as “couscous for comment”.

“We’ve actually got this pathetic, safe press release-generated journalism that’s only driving force is it’s next invitation.”

Lethlean also performs admirably in the pop-quiz and offers an insight into his life at home.


John Lethlean

Header image: Ali Robertson (left), John Lethlean (middle) and Chris Komorek (right)

Theme music courtesy of Max Savage
Image by By The Glass
Recorded live at Mache

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