AJC dining critic flouts a conflict of interest

Shaun Doty, owner-chef of Shaun’s in Inman Park, has enjoyed loads of favorable reviews from local critics.

Creative Loafing’s Besha Rodell gave the restaurant four stars after it opened in 2007 and Cliff Bostock writes glowingly of Doty’s cooking in this week’s CL. Similar kind words came from Atlanta Magazine.

But the AJC’s Meridith Ford (now Meridith Ford Goldman) may have been the most effusive of all. She declared in her January 2007 review that “there is no other restaurant of this caliber in Atlanta.” And it seems, at least, that a week has seldom gone by since without Goldman offering the restaurant plaudits in a blog post, a “best” this-or-that listing or even in reviews for other restaurants.

That’s why a few eyebrows were raised last month when foodies started hearing that Doty would cater at the AJC critic’s wedding party. Then, on Sept. 25, I practically choked on my chicken livers when the daily ran Goldman’s article gushing about the chefs at her reception, held at South Fulton’s elegant Serenbe community. Ice cream, she said, was provided by Doty, “who was nice enough to make my favorite appetizer from his menu, Sardinian flatbread, as well.”