Magazine gives excellence award to hoaxer's fictional restaurant

American magazine Wine Spectator has given an excellence award to a restaurant that doesn’t exist.

Osteria L’Intrepido restaurant in Milan, Italy won Wine Spectator magazine’s award of excellence this year, but is in fact a fictional restaurant made up by wine critic and Author Robin Goldstein, who wanted to expose the ‘lack of foundation for many food and wine awards”.  And, incidentally, to plug his new book.

Goldstein created a fake website for the restaurant and submitted an application with the restaurant’s menu and $250 entry fee. He said: ‘I am interested in what’s behind all the ratings and reviews we read… The level of scrutiny is not sufficient.”

Osteria L’Intrepido is a play on words on Fearless Critic, a guide book series Goldstein founded.

As Goldstein writes, the magazine still claims to have checked its facts sufficiently. Reporters called the Milan phone number Goldstein had left but every time got his answer phone message. But they didn’t leave a message or send an email.

The Spectator did get in touch (you can hear the phone call and read the email) after the award when a sales rep asked if the restaurant would like to take out an advert.

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