Blair Anthony Robertson out as Sacramento Bee food critic, still writing about food for the paper

In a bit of a shocker–at least as far as Sacramento foodie circles go–the Sacramento Bee has acknowledged that its oft-controversial food critic Blair Anthony Robertson is no longer on food reviewing duties.

Cowtown Eats, the local food blog, had the news first. In fact they should be praised for some straight-up investigative work.

I contacted Swanson on Sunday evening after the two last Sunday editions didn’t include a restaurant review despite the fact that Robertson appeared to be actively reporting on current food events and not on vacation. In addition, on or before Feb. 18, Robertson changed his twitter bio and removed references to being the Bee’s restaurant critic.

Sacramento Bee features editor Tim Swanson acknowledged the change in an email to Cowtown Eats.

We’re in the process of making some changes in coverage/topic areas at The Bee – not just in features, but across the publication. Blair is still writing about food and beer (among other things), but is no longer reviewing restaurants. We’re currently assessing our approach, but remain committed to producing quality food criticism.

It’s an interesting development. Or not. On the one hand Robertson–or BAR, as many call him–earned a lot of fans and detractors over the last few years. Some praised his sharply critical voice while others found him skewing mean–not so much for his  assessment of a restaurant’s food but rather for the occasional non-food-related jabs he took at a place or the people who populated it. Then again, newspapers switch things up all the time. Full disclosure: I used to work at the Bee and then it was not unusual for the paper’s higher-ups to decide changes were necessary every couple of months.

An email to Swanson went unanswered this morning, stay tuned for updates. In the meantime here’s a link to BAR’s reviews and columns.

Photo via Sacramento Bee.