The Sacramento Bee's food critic Blair Anthony Robertson is eating his words this week after publishing a review of local eatery Silva’s Sheldon Inn that was less than enthusiastic.
The write-up included references to Don Brown, whom Robertson believed was the sous chef, and concluded with the questions, "… is it a dining destination? For the curious and those seeking country charm and solid cooking? Sure. For foodies? Not anymore.”
The problem? Brown -- who happened to have been the owners' nephew -- died more than two years ago on Feb. 17, 2010 of a fatal stroke.
Poynter has the details surrounding the aftermath, which now includes an editor's note on the original piece, a separate apology from Robertson and plenty of pointed conversation in the community, especially these comments from local chef Teresa Urkofsky.
If Blair had bothered to do the least bit of research, he would have read of Don's passing on the Silva's Sheldon Inn website. As painful as this is for Don's colleagues to read, I can only imagine how excruciating it is for his family to read.
Robertson's apology revealed that he hadn't connected with the restaurant's owner before his story was published. He called the mistake "unfortunate" and expressed his regret:
I have already heard from many of Mr. Brown's friends and loved ones, and I want to apologize for the jolt of pain and anguish my error caused.
Those who knew Don Brown have told me, as one email stated this morning, that he was "a great father, wonderful chef, super person." Other emails have made similar characterizations.
This error has already been addressed in the online version of the review and will be corrected in the newspaper. I feel terrible about the mistake and will redouble my efforts to make sure errors big or small do not find their way into my work.