Cooking Up an Identity Drama: The Ruth Bourdain Mystery Gets Juicy

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If you have any doubts about Twitter marketing, consider the success of Ruth Bourdain.

Ruth Bourdain is a Twitter sensation who some 46,600 foodie followers turn to for witty, wise and wonderful thoughts on culinary topics. So beloved is Ruth Bourdain that she even won a James Beard award for Humor in Food Writing and has her own blog on
Not bad for a person who isn’t even real.
Ruth Bourdain is a Twitter persona who has the acid tongue of No Reservations host and New York bad-boy chef Anthony Bourdain mixed with the ethereal tweets of earth mama and former Gourmet editor Ruth Reichl. Since the inception of the character, speculation has been high on just who the real Ruth Bourdain is.
Last week, Minneapolis Star-Tribune food editor Svitak Dean thought she had found out and hopped online to unmask the beloved Twitter celebrity. Dean blogged passionately about how she was convinced that Village Voice food critic Robert Sietsema was the voice behind Ruth. Dean had deduced that Sietsema was her Ruth after she attended a closed session of the Association of Food Journalists conference last week wherein Sietsema was also in attendance. Sietsema, according to the Wall Street Journal, brushed off the allegations and noted that other journalist were also in the session and could be also be Ruth.
“Ruth” herself seems to be eating the whole thing up. On Monday, she tweeted, “Just woke up from a nap. Had the weirdest dream I was @robertsietsema.”
Since the “will the real Ruth Bourdain please stand up?” drama unfolded, she’s seen a jump in followers and has become a Twitter trending topic. Flurries of other food writers seem to be interested in getting to the bottom of the mystery, too. Why? Because Ruth Bourdain personifies everything that is fun and successful about Twitter. Her tweets are entertaining, smart and interesting. And when you have that recipe, who cares if the person tweeting isn’t real?

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