April 11, 2016, - 6:12 pm

Major Restaurant Critic: “My Job is to Promote Social Justice, Labor Rights” – The Bernie Sanders Food Critic

By Debbie Schlussel


The new restaurant critic for a major newspaper has announced that he will praise restaurants that match his utopian left-wing, Al-Jazeera-styled political demands. Who cares about the actual quality of the food and service, right?

With a heavily-inflated claimed average daily circulation figure of 639,350, the Detroit Free Press is the largest daily newspaper in Detroit. The 639,350 figure reflects the more popular Sunday Edition and counts anyone who clicks on its website, even if they spend less than a second on the site. The real circulation figure–including those who subscribe to or purchase the hard copy of the newspaper and those who read several articles on the site–is now actually between 100,000 and 150,000 . . . or less. Back in 2014, the paper counted fewer than 100,000 online and hard copy subscribers, and that number has decreased since. In 2014, fewer than 64,000 people actually subscribed to or bought the hard copy of the paper. And the newspaper has lost tremendous influence, with “reporters” such as Tresa Baldas actually plagiarizing stories broken by others (she admittedly did it to me, with Editor Stephen Henderson acknowledging and covering up the theft).

Still, as the major newspaper in a top eleven market, the paper remains influential in some minor respects in lighter “news” fare, such as restaurant reviews and sports coverage. And that’s where the newspaper’s newly-inducted restaurant critic, Mark Kurlyandchik–a hipster who previously worked for Al-Jazeera America–comes in.

On Sunday, in a half-page column, Kurlyandchik introduced himself as the new critic, “replacing” the paper’s fabulous, retired former critic Sylvia Rector (who made my mouth water with her descriptions of food at restaurants, despite the fact that they were not kosher and I couldn’t eat there).

In his introduction, Kurlyandchik, an attendee of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and tattooed self-styled filmmaker (the ultimate experience for being a food critic!), slipped in what his real agenda will be when he reviews restaurants: Bernie-Sanders-esque, Al-Jazeerafied politics. Kurlyandchick declared that he will review restaurants

through my own lens, using Detroit’s food scene as a window into all the issues it touches: environmental sustainability, social justice, labor rights, economic development and equality.


Um, whatever happened to reviewing restaurants based on the quality of the food, the level of service, and the ambience of the dining experience and location?

Now, this Al-Jazeera hipster will apparently rate restaurants based on whether they donate a portion of profits to “Syrian refugees” or pay their employees $15 per hour and give them six weeks paid family leave a la his previous home of San Francisco. He already noted in a review of one of the restaurants he picked among Detroit’s top ten for the year, that he liked the fact that the wait staff were pierced and tattooed. Really? Does that make your food more delectable–that the person serving it has more outlets from which to ooze germs and disease? Idiocy.

Restaurants are small businesses, probably the riskiest kind of small businesses in which one can invest. The odds are against them. Most new restaurants fail in their first year of business. And they rely heavily on word of mouth–probably more so than any other new small business. So, Mark Kurlyandchik will, sadly, have tremendous influence on new restaurants opening up in the Detroit area. And restaurants will have to advertise their weekly LGBTQ Muslim Vegan Biracial Knitting Club Discount For Locally Farmed Compost-Soil-Grown Food in order to get a positive nod from him. That’s depressing.

Fortunately, as I noted, the Freep has decreasing influence and a rapidly declining readership. Also fortunate: a whole host of independent restaurant and food critics have emerged online to counter greasy-haired, bearded orthodox ideologues like Kurlyandchik. And those sites usually rate food establishments for the only things that count: food and service. Even Yelp critics are probably more believable than this guy.

Kurlyandchik might be the last restaurant critic at the Freep. Most newspapers are getting rid of them, as they are considered an unnecessary expense.

Let’s hope his tenure is short.

In the meantime, Mark Kurlyandchick would be best advised to . . .

STFU and eat.

Your politics are as welcome in our food as cockroaches are.

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35 Responses

He is obviously not a serious restaurant critic.

The best critics conceal their faces & appearances, so restaurants will not know who they are or recognize them when they dine.

Obviously, if a critic is recognized, the restaurant will go out of their way to make the dining experience as good as possible, and the critic’s experience will not be comparable to that of the average customer.

So this is additional nullification of any value to this person’s reviews.

Little Al on April 11, 2016 at 6:32 pm

I don’t want to be lectured about politics when I look at food.

There’s a reason the Food Channel and Travel Channel food shows are popular: people sharing the joy of good food, even if its not what I eat myself.

Mark Kurlyandchik needs to STFU and sit down and eat – and leave his personal politics off the table.

NormanF on April 11, 2016 at 6:51 pm

The silver lining…it should be rather easy to figure out which establishments to avoid for their likely support of terrorism.

YCHtT on April 11, 2016 at 7:44 pm

Would Ghandi approve of this meatball? :pondering

tommy helms on April 11, 2016 at 8:48 pm

That the Free Press is called “Freep” sort of fits, in a strange way. I remember a Bugs Bunny cartoon with an unseen high-diver named “Fearless Freep.” Only this loser, Kurlyandchik, isn’t really all that fearless if you come right down to it. Nor is the sad-sack of a paper that hired him – in short, the not-so-fearless “Freep.”

ConcernedPatriot on April 11, 2016 at 9:01 pm

I’m astonished as to what he thinks restaurants can do besides offering food items that prospective customers choose to buy.

We must remember and acknowledge that the ” War on drugs ” was lost at least two decades ago and there is no way to tell who might be under the blanket of not only drug addiction but who might be presently engulfed in drug delusion / euphoria.

Therefor the statements of such well wishers should be suspect as chemically induced or even worse through self-induced psychosis.

Hey man, far out, what cha gonna be today, what cha smokin’, etc.

None of them will ever realize they’ve lived a worthless life and all of them are of leftist thought.


JayPee on April 11, 2016 at 10:07 pm

We truly live in an Age Of Ego, and the resultant disease of tyranny is spreading fast as a result. It’s one of the reasons I stopped watching the Food Network years ago.

When people on that channel started becoming superstar celebrities I concluded their shows were no longer for me. It became just another exclusive celebrity self congratulatory club, instead of teaching about cooking or commenting on food.

Throw in a jackass like Anthony Bourdain and it doesn’t take much to keep me away. His penchant for proffering that his view is the last word on everything, or introducing politics and his world view on ANYTHING, is a bore and way off the mark. It’s TOTALLY irrelevant if you’re trying to sell me on eating hot and spicy squid from a street cart in Thailand.

As much fun as some of their shows were, the malaise of the 24 hour news cycle hit The Food Network in a big way. There’s just no need for a lot of what they did or do, but once something becomes an industry, it’s like a monstrous creature. It needs to feed, no pun intended, to survive.

‘You don’t want the people in the mail room at The Food Network to lose their jobs, do you?’ And so it goes, as Linda Ellerbee used to say.

As for this guy that Debbie did the article on, it’s the ultimate joke, except it’s not that funny. That a person like this would think as a food critic it’s his job to do ANYTHING but critique the categories she mentioned, shows his mental illness.

I guess Tears For Fears was right all those years ago, “everybody wants to rule the world.” It was about that time that Madonna was telling Dick Clark the same thing, she wanted to “rule the world.”

Whatever happened to humility, and being content with one’s lot in life?

OH, MY, ALFREDO WHAT ARE YOU, A FUDDY DUDDY? You just want to take away everybody’s fun. You’re no better than anyone else. You can’t expect everybody to live the way you do. You can’t go around telling everyone how they’re supposed to behave.

Hmmmmmm, that’s true. But I guess every Tom, Dick, or food critic can.

Alfredo from Puerto Rico on April 11, 2016 at 11:19 pm

And until a few years ago, I thought that the Freep was the Detroit area’s “paper of record.” Is the Detroit News any better?

P: Nope. They both suck. I call it the D Newsistan for a reason. DS

Primetime on April 12, 2016 at 1:01 am

No problem! I have just the award-winning restaurant that will prove irresistible to Mark Kurlyandchik:
The Bolshevik Bistro!

Among its offerings . . .

Mao Zedong’s Chinese Chicken Salad – thin sliced baked sesame oil and soy sauce seasoned chicken breasts, served over Napa cabbage, red cabbage, carrot, scallions, water chestnuts, and Mandarin orange, whisked in Deng Xiaoping sauce, made with soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, brown sugar and chili paste.

Chomsky Cheddar Fondue – Fine aged shredded cheddar with beer, garlic, dry mustard, and Worcestershire, thickened to perfection in a slow cooking fondue pot. Served with steamed Howard Zin sourdough bread.

Michael Moore Meatball Hero Sandwich – Succulent meatballs (choice of turkey or beef), slow simmered in thick red wine marina in a split toasted Italian hero loaf.

Fidel Fries – Dutch oven twice-fried people’s potatoes, cooked to a perfect golden brown, with crisp skin, and a light, fluffy interior. Served with tangy Berkeley Bay of Pigs catsup.

Bon appetite!

Ralph Adamo on April 12, 2016 at 1:58 am

Through his own lens? WTF? Why doesn’t he evaluate the restaurant through – brace yourselves, this could be crazy – his tastebuds and his experience with the staff? I’m not gonna take advice from some dude who’s grading restaurants on how “down wit the struggle” they are.

Sean M on April 12, 2016 at 11:49 am

Hey Everyone!

“Mark, err, NOTE” my words:

This guy certainly has “CURLY” hair and beard AND I can see by his attire that he is genuinely “CHIC”!

BTW, Ralph, how did you get a copy of the BOLSHEVIK BISTRO menu?

Oh, I know…the State Department mailed all of us a copy in conjunction with the IRS’s mailing of the Tax Forms. I think they are trying to generate TOURIST TRIPS to CUBA —our NEWEST FRIENDS—especially since we will be receiving such large, unexpected refunds!!!

Well, gotta go and get a subscription to the FREEP,

Dennis on April 12, 2016 at 1:27 pm

The Freep is a Gannett owned Rag….same thing with the AZ Republic….thank god for the sports section!

Steve Epps on April 12, 2016 at 1:30 pm

Wouldn’t this render his column worthless if it becomes known that his opinion is based on political opinions? I’m sure this is common but most people are not stupid enough to admit this in public.

jerry d on April 12, 2016 at 1:35 pm

Where to start! Did the freep know his agenda before they hired him? Now that they know a food critic s putting the food second to his political ideology are they not going to fire him? Is this what you get with a Berkeley degree? And finally shouldn’t his parents or the government just thrown the tuition money into the pacific?

A Charles Martel fan on April 12, 2016 at 6:00 pm

Is this moonbat a Vegan? If not he has NO BUSINESS bleating about “social consciousness” in his dopey reviews. I am hoping this fool isn’t because then his fellow Libtards should rip him a new one. If you’re gonna prop yourself up on such a lofty perch, shouldn’t you be able to defend every rung of the ladder up to it? This fool can go eff himself…and I am a vegetarian! I am hoping he eats meat!

Idiots like this big-noting Bogan piss me off. If these people were so pure of heart, there would NEVER be a Libtard labeled as mean or a jerk since the 60’s. We all know that isn’t true. We have all known insufferable hippies like this would wouldn’t give you a lift in a rain storm but would have a nervous breakdown if you damaged their “Ani DiFranco” CD catalog. All this Bullsh is just the other side of totalitarianism. My favourite writer penned the word EGALITOTALITARIAN” and boy is he right! But I have known that since 1991!

Skunky on April 12, 2016 at 6:45 pm

Mark Kurlyandchick sounds like someone who could not get a legitimate job in journalism. He is reduced to hijacking a restaurant column at a dying urban newspaper. Mark Kurlyandchick will bang his slop out each week until his position is eliminated.

Worry on April 12, 2016 at 8:02 pm

Easy solution to this problem: whatever restaurant this Libtard jerk recommends, avoid. If he comes down hard on someplace, having nothing to do with the menu, patronize them on a daily basis, at least until they get their “feet on the ground” should they be new and struggling.

jc15 on April 12, 2016 at 11:06 pm

There’s a reason newspapers are in the state they are in. And that’s because they seem to inject politics into places where they don’t belong. I don’t care about the reviewer’s political views. I care about whether the movie or restaurant I’m going to go to is ANY good. The sooner the media stops this sort of thing,the better their fortunes will be.

Ghostwriter on April 12, 2016 at 11:43 pm

    Yup, sportscasters too. ESPN should just admit that they have a politics department. I don’t need to know what two guys calling the Ravens-Steelers think about troubles in the Middle East or Ferguson, or anywhere for that matter.

    Alfredo from Puerto Rico on April 13, 2016 at 3:41 pm

Really Kurly and chik.
Both at the same time?
Hopefully, for Detroits sake he gets the heave ho after a few PC offences

Panhandle on April 13, 2016 at 1:19 pm

A new low, even for the Freep. Mark Kurlyandchik, what a tool he is. Another punk who got pushed into the rose bushes on his way to school. “Now they’ll listen to me”! I truly hate that once great city that I used to call home. They need to Napalm the whole city and start over. Do it at Noon on a weekday when most Detroiter’s are still sleeping.

MuzzCrusher on April 13, 2016 at 1:44 pm

Hi Deb!

This is so typical! Leftwing ideology is being spoon-fed to us (pun intended) through every imaginable avenue. This column hardly surprises me.

As you note: people aren’t buying it. In other words, they aren’t paying money for it. Newspaper subscriber statistics continue to plummet for all the good reasons you mention.

Unfortunately, Leftwing ideology is being shoved down our throats in places where we have no choice but to cope. It’s shoved down our throats in sports telecasts/broadcasts. It’s shoved down our throats in religion. It’s shoved down our throats in the arts. It’s shoved down our throats in the local Metro pages and local radio/tv news. It’s even shoved down our throats in the weather reports.

Multi-national corporations shove it down our throats while participating in the standard-making processes that rigs the rules in their favor. Their CEOs laugh all the way to the bank. If you think this food critic thing is bad, you aren’t even touching the surface of the problem and the trend. To make matters worse, the number of Americans drinking this Kool-Aid is frightening.

At some point in my life, I realized that I don’t make the rules. I just cope with them.

I so greatly appreciate your fighting this obscene behavior. You have no idea!

So thank you for writing this column. I hope that your readers keep a keen eye out for all the other ways Leftwing ideology is subliminally forced on us. This column cites but one small example, but I know you comment on many others.


There is NO Santa Claus (aka TINSC)

There is NO Santa Claus on April 13, 2016 at 11:35 pm

” . . . the number of Americans drinking this Kool-Aid is frightening.” – TINSC

Millennials are among the worst in this regard (that is, as Kool-Aid drinkers), thanks to leftist indoctrination in “publick skools” where they are totally inculcated with leftist values across the board, then onto college where they are trained to be neo-brownshirts to shut down any dissenting speech. And it is but one reason why we may well be stuck with the cackling, pantsuit-wearing “Cankles” for the next four years, further accelerating America’s decline and total collapse. And it is another strike against the 26th Amendment.

ConcernedPatriot on April 15, 2016 at 11:33 pm

Bernie Sanders yesterday just came out in support of the Oppressed Palestinians. Truly this man is a JINO — and a moron.

Primetime on April 16, 2016 at 2:11 pm

“that the person serving it has more outlets from which to ooze germs and disease? Idiocy.” After reading this I nearly ruptured my spleen laughing!!

Recalcitrant Zionist on April 16, 2016 at 6:01 pm

So much negativity here… He is actually a great writer and here in Detroit most people are actually interested in more then just if “food tastes good”. You can get simpleton reviews like that from Yelp. He didn’t say anything about liberal/leftist policies must be appreciated by the owners of the restuarant to get a good review, but that things beyond the taste of the food also play a part in the overall impact of the restaurant on the community it’s in. For example if a restaurant supports a local farm, or has paid a local artist to paint a mural on the building, these are the kinds of things that make a restaurant worth visiting to Detroiters. It’s unfortunate that so many people are so quick to judge someone based just on their past job, name or appearance…

An actual detroiter who reads the "freep" on May 2, 2016 at 1:23 am

Your site is a joke. It’s ok for you to make shit up and spew venom about a person you don’t know. You put him in a box because you disagree with his writings. You are an attorney, so are you ethical? Sounds like a big no. And the fact that you solicit donations for your own website strikes me as hilarious. Keep writing this tripe and may I suggest you simply eat at home so you yourself can avoid restaurants that you don’t care for. Must be a Trump supporter…..

Alex on May 2, 2016 at 7:15 am

I have been following Mark Kurlyandchik since his position was first announced in the Free Press (yes, I subscribe). I was intent on defending him here since I find his writing impressive, his restaurant reviews right on the money, and his deeper delve into the food industry downright intriguing.

And then I did a bit of research on you, Debbie, and learned what a venomous, hateful snake you are. You are just a close-minded right-wing nut job with no talent and a very poor understanding of writing, journalism, and most of all, ethics.

So, I think we’re good here.


Katherine on May 2, 2016 at 8:40 am

Debbie’s piece is mean, spiteful and immature. She resorts to the name calling and personal slams on which one who is losing an argument depends. The hyperbole and out of context statements detract from what could have been a decent article on her opposing view. Now it’s simply political trash. Sad to see a bright young star who supports a great city, unfairly slammed. Keep your head up Mark, and recognize this for what it is. Can’t wait to see more.

Suzanne on May 2, 2016 at 10:10 am

Oh sweetie…you’re too pretty to have to work as a lawyer. This is the perfect mommy job for you.

carrie jenkins on May 2, 2016 at 2:24 pm


Do Your homework, you know nothing about this person. Maybe someone is a little jealous. He has a bright future ahead and your an old washed up has been. Dont hate the player hate the game.

Valerie Barrett on May 3, 2016 at 1:16 am

Debbie you are a windbag, you can’t eat anything that isn’t Kosher, which limits you to maybe 1% of restaurants nationwide. Your opinion on food means nothing to me.

All of you calling Mark a moron are barely able to put together a proper sentence, yet if you listen to the interviews he’s given you’ll find a very articulate and interesting man who hasn’t lived in your shell of ignorance.

I’m not huge on locally sourced or fair trade anything, I’m in it for the taste but I’ll always appreciate a new perspective on things. If you want to hear Rush Limbaugh with a feminine (not overly feminie mind you) tune into Debbie. Stay in your lane Debbie, your nonsense is unwelcome in Detroit.

Jeff Holbrook on May 3, 2016 at 8:20 am

Oh God, he thinks people should be given fair pay for fair work! Oh God, he thinks people shouldn’t destroy the planet! Oh GOD, he believes in EQUALITY! You people on this website are so incredibly deluded. I’ve literally screamed at how stupid these articles and comments are.

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