Village Voice Critic Denies He's Fake Twitter Celeb Ruth Bourdain

A Minneapolis-based colleague says Robert Sietsema is the anonymous genius

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Update (3:32 p.m. EDT): Sietsema denies he's Ruth Bourdain, but he says he knows who it is. He gave this comment to Village Voice's Fork in the Road: "I know I'm not Ruth Bourdain because I'm looking at him right now."

Update (12:20 p.m. EDT): Sietsema denied to Grub Street that he had anything to do with the Ruth Bourdain account. "It was that I happened to be texting a friend during a session," he told Grub reporter Jenny Miller. "There were 60 food journalists there and I think any of them had the writing chops." So who could it be, Miller asked.

"I think it could be Ben Leventhal or somebody like that. Somebody who never has to worry about working for Ruth," Sietsema, a Gourmet contributor, told Miller. "I feel bad swiping his or her thunder by this controversy, but then again it kind of builds the Ruth Bourdain brand."

Original: The first rule of anonymous tweeting: Do it in private. At least, if there is a rule list for such a thing that should be up top. Because tweeting in public at a convention of his colleagues is how Village Voice food critic Robert Sietsema gave himself away as the mind behind @RuthBourdain, a mash-up of Ruth Reichl and Anthony Bourdain that somehow manages to skewer and pay tribute to both. A recent example from this morning: Reichl tweeted "Shimmering morning. Tasting fall. Crisp slices of tart, sweet pear. Prickly, pungent gorgonzola on warm toast. Mugs of spicy cider." and then Ruth Bourdain followed with "Shivering. Tasting fall: wet leaves, rotting pumpkin, and wormy pears. Hey, who's the prick who put pungent gorgonzola on my warm toast?"

Lee Svitak Dean, the food editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, outed Sietsema on Friday: "He was tweeting while listening to the same speaker I was, in a closed room in Charleston, SC, at a conference with the Association of Food Journalists." Sietsema hasn't mentioned anything about the conference in his own Twitter account or in the Voice's Fork in the Road blog. He told Eater, "I could do better humor wise. And don't forget Ruth was my patrón." But Svitak Dean is standing by her story, tweeting, "@RuthBourdain = Robert Sietsema. Prove me wrong." One benefit if Sietsema cops to the anonymous account: He'll be able to claim that James Beard award for humor that Ruth Bourdain won back in May.

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