Ruth Bourdain Revealed?

Robert Sietsema Denies Allegations By Star-Tribune Food Editor Lee Svitak Dean

Posted by Sharon on Oct 8

Has the elusive identity of the James Beard Award-winning Twitter account @RuthBourdain finally been revealed?

According to Lee Svitak Dean, who's the food editor at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the identity can only be pinned down to one person: Robert Sietsema, food critic at Village Voice.

The Twitter feed of Ruth Bourdain is a parody mash-up of former Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl's tweets as seen through the intelligently snarky lens of No Reservations host Anthony Bourdain. And in May, the account received a JBF Award in the food humor category.

Dean publicly announced the "outing" of Sietsema yesterday in an article that soon went viral across the food world. She explained the reasoning behind her decision and felt it necessary to inform the public, although admittedly hesitant. "I have to say, though, I feel a bit like the one blurting out the truth about Santa AND the tooth fairy AND the Easter bunny all at the same time," Dean said.

So where's the proof? What has Dean discovered that locks down such an elusive pseudonym?

According to Dean, Ruth Bourdain's pitfall occurred during an Association of Food Journalists conference. Dean noted that certain Tweets published on @RuthBourdain were sent moments after being delivered during a closed-door session.

"It had to be someone that was in the room," Dean deduced. "The comment made by Ruth Bourdain was made within moments of it being said."

From the options available in the room, Dean narrowed it down to Sietsema based on the information that his personal Twitter account has over 6,000 followers and that only a few AFJ attendees hailed from Ruth Bourdain's home of New York.

However, when approached with the allegations, Robert Sietsema denied any claims that he is the author behind Ruth Bourdain's voice. "There were 60 food journalists there and I think any of them had the writing chops," he reported to GrubStreet. He also suggested Ben Leventhal, co-founder of the Eater.com blog, as a possible new target.

But he added, "If I was Ruth Bourdain, I wouldn't tell you."

So for now, it's nothing definite, and rumors still abound. Seems @RuthBourdain and @robertsietsema had something to say about it today, though. Take a look:

@RuthBourdain: "Just woke up from a nap. Had the weirdest dream I was @robertsietsema."

@robertsietsema: "Now I'm really confused! RT @RuthBourdain: Just woke up from a nap. Had the weirdest dream I was @robertsietsema."

@robertsietsema: "Charleston sunset, a splash of pink Pepto across the sky."

@robertsietsema: "@RuthBourdain It's been fun, my friend, hiking the SC swamps in your size 12 Manolos, but now I've got bigger souffles to fry."

@RuthBourdain: "@robertsietsema Whatever you say, Ruthie."

Source: Wall Street Journal

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