Guy Griffin

  • Guy began his writing career at university in the mid-80s, when he became a member of his Oxford University college wine society. After a life-changing tipple of an aged Kalimna Estate at a society dinner he began contributing notes on Australian wines acquired for the college cellar, for a weekly newsletter.

    The shift into food writing came through a friendship with the storied American cook and food writer Richard Olney. A profile of Olney for the Fairfax press in the early ’90s led to more stories on subjects as diverse as bush tucker, herbal teas and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. He began writing about food more seriously when he was called to the Bar. Briefs were pretty slow coming in that first year so to pay his chambers’ rent he churned out food, wine and travel stories, mostly for the various imprints of Fairfax.

    Then Australian Gourmet Traveller called when well-known critic, Terry Durack, left. After writing a sample review of a new Neil Perry restaurant Guy landed the national food critic’s job. Seven years of restaurant reviewing for the magazine prepped his palate for his own column as chief restaurant critic for the new Fairfax glossy the (sydney) magazine, a position he occupied for ten years. Guy remains a Senior Reviewer for the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide.

    All these jobs have taught him some life lessons about the function of the restaurant critic. The key lesson is that the critic is there not just to entertain and inform, but to defend the diner against mediocrity. That’s not only against feckless food, robotic service or complacent restaurateurs; it’s against anywhere you dine where you have to lower your expectations against your will. His new role as Principal Food Writer for The Real Review enables him to carry on the good fight, at the same time as he shares his special interest in food and dining out, with fellow wine lovers in Australia and New Zealand.