Frank Bruni is on his way to becoming the most recognized food critic in the country -- even if it'll only be for the couple of weeks before his last column runs. The New York Times restaurant critic announced in May that he was stepping down from his perch atop culinary judgmentalism and would be returning to civilian life.
Dining critics live in the shadows, hiding their faces and true identities from all but a select few, so as not to endanger friends and family with the dangerous work they do. OK, that may be an exaggeration, but dining critics in general, and especially such a high-profile and sought-after one as Bruni is/was, keep it on the down low. Their true identities are about as closely guarded as Bike Snob's. There were a couple of very dated photos of Bruni floating around out there, and every kitchen staff worth its star had committed the grainy pics to memory.
Now that he's stepped down and has a book coming out, Bruni is having a coming out of sorts. There's a cameo in the movie "Julie & Julia," which comes out Friday, and his book coming out in August, and then today an actual and true updated photo of Bruni was published in Publisher's Weekly, which EatMeDaily and Eater were quick to point out, and now the mug is flying all over the Interwebs.
Now that we see him with that coy Mona Lisa-smile, he doesn't look so scary anymore. In the previously most seen photo he looked a suspicious character. Maybe he was a most-wanted perp, or an associate of Robert Chambers, the Preppie Killer, but now, in being unmasked, Bruni has been defanged in a way. He just looks like a guy whose dream it was to be in a Nora Ephron RomCom.