Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics

, Volume 27, Issue 6, pp 895-907

First online:

De Gustibus Disputandum: The Aesthetics and Ethics of Taste in the Rhetorical Genre of the Restaurant Review

  • Lawrence SouderAffiliated withCulture and Communication, Drexel UniversityCollege of Arts and Sciences, Drexel University Email author 
  • , Edward BottoneAffiliated withHospitality Management, Culinary Arts, and Food Science, Drexel University

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Contemporary professional restaurant reviews have consequences beyond the dinner plate. They now face challenges from the democratizing efforts of blogs and crowd-sourced reviews. Thus an analysis seems appropriate for determining how they are written and what might be lost should they be replaced. Restaurant reviews are presumed to be a species of art and literary criticism and as such have evolved as a rhetorical genre. Through genre analysis we inductively construct the form of the professional restaurant review and then apply it deductively to recent reviews to discover any substantive and stylistic differences that have arisen in the evolution of this genre of writing. We conclude with a critique of this genre that reveals ethical implications for the uses of metaphors in professional restaurant reviews.


Food reviews Ethics Metaphor Genre Rhetoric Aesthetics