The 85-year-old restaurant critic who earnestly assessed a Grand Forks, N.D. Olive Garden restaurant as “impressive” could soon have a lot more on her plate: Marilyn Hagerty is in talks with Anthony Bourdain for a book deal.
Hagerty, a columnist for the Grand Forks Herald, wrote a review of a newly-opened Olive Garden last month that earned her hundreds of thousands of readers: The review went viral, mocked for its earnestness and simple descriptions of chicken alfredo from a chain often derided as the epitome of average suburbanite dining. The review also inspired discussions about urban food snobbery, considering that many of the people who responded sarcastically to Hagerty’s assessment could identify with it, having grown up in the same kind of small towns where an Olive Garden is fine dining.
Hagerty responded to the jokes about her article with poise, and she’s being rewarded for it with more publicity and opportunities. She’s appeared on TV in New York and dined at restaurants from Le Bernadin to the Times Square Olive Garden, says MSNBC. On Tuesday, the Herald reported that Hagerty would be filming a segment with Anderson Cooper, and that she was in talks with “No Reservations” host Anthony Bourdain and publisher Harper Collins for a book deal.
Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema thought that Hagerty’s review had the right tone.
“People poke fun of the Olive Garden. But, hey, if that's what the people there are talking about, that's theirs. She is covering news," Sietsema said to the Associated Press.