Feeding the public stomach: dining out in 1970s Sydney with restaurant critic Leo Schofield

Harper, Melissa (2012) Feeding the public stomach: dining out in 1970s Sydney with restaurant critic Leo Schofield. History Australia, 9 3: 43-66.

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Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Author Harper, Melissa
Title Feeding the public stomach: dining out in 1970s Sydney with restaurant critic Leo Schofield
Journal name History Australia   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1449-0854
Publication date 2012-12
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status
Volume 9
Issue 3
Start page 43
End page 66
Total pages 24
Place of publication Clayton, Vic., Australia
Publisher Monash University ePress
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract
One of the great cultural transformations in late-twentieth-century Australia (as in many other western societies) was the rise of the restaurant and the creation of middle-class tastes for ‘sophisticated’ wining and dining. In that process the restaurant reviewer performed a crucial role in promoting restaurant eating and educating diners. One of the earliest and most influential Australian critics was advertising executive Leo Schofield, reviewer from 1971 to 1977 for the Sunday Telegraph, and in the 1980s for the Sydney Morning Herald. Schofield’s reviews were often playful but he took his position as food connoisseur very seriously. Schofield had a dim view of Sydney’s restaurants and he saw his role as a pedagogical one; he was there to educate diners and to advocate for them, pushing restaurateurs and chefs to improve their standards. This article situates Schofield as a cultural intermediary, exploring the complex relationships between the critic, the diner and the restaurant industry. In particular it draws on a collection of letters written between 1974 and 1977 to Schofield from diners and restaurateurs, and Schofield’s responses. I argue that while Schofield exerted considerable authority in shaping opinions about Sydney’s expanding restaurant culture and played a key role in constructing collective taste, diners were not passive consumers of his reviews but played an active role in their production.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry
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Created: Thu, 31 Jan 2013, 11:09:09 EST by Ms Stormy Wehi on behalf of School of Communication and Arts