Monday, June 25, 2012

On Becoming a Food Critic...

Okay so I know that I'm going to have to consider a lot of things when I start doing reviews, but I went ahead anyway and started looking for sites to register for in order to begin writing reviews--after all, this is the fun part! 

I also added a blog list to the right to give samples of other types of food blogs. I like looking at what other people do in order to inspire ideas as well as get a general understanding for what I'm planning on doing. 

Anyways, back to the website. Above my blog list I will be adding in any other types of food review sites so that anyone can easily find a place to begin their own food critic journey themselves. I've chosen to try out Urban Spoon because it contains several restaurants in my area that I can access to review. 

I'm going to continue looking up tips throughout the process of attempting reviews. I'll post it all though, so don't worry--you wont miss a beat.

Thanks for reading! 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Tip Number One

You still gotta know how to sell your work. 

...I found an article with a few different things to say, but this stuck out to me the most: 

Getting an Editor's Go-Ahead in the Food Writing Biz

It really doesn't matter how long you've worked as a chef, restaurant manager, or food service employee. If you don't know how to approach an editor to pitch a food story idea, you're not going to make it as a food writer. It's got nothing to do with how much you know about food, and everything about how to rise above the competition. As a chef or recent graduate from chef school, you “get” how fierce competition can be. That competition also translates into the writing industry. If you've got an idea for a great food story and want to publish it into a magazine or newspaper, you'll need to know how to approach and editor. More importantly, you'll learn how to grab an editor's attention so that your story idea turns into published reality.
When creating your pitch letter or “query” letter to an editor, keep in mind that he or she could have literally hundreds of pitches coming in everyday. What you thought was a unique story idea suddenly pales in comparison to all the other ones on the editor's desk. So how do you get that unique story assignment? The following tips are just a few things that a good writing course would teach you:
  • Type your pitch/letter and keep it to one page.
  • Start your pitch with an opening statement that will immediately intrigue the editor. For example, introduce a new trend in the food industry.
  • Customize your pitch to the publication.
  • Use descriptions that evoke a strong sense of taste, smell, texture, and appearance.
Of course, learning how to become a food critic or food writer involves a lot more than the tips above. However, a part-time course can go a long way in honing your writing skills if a job as a food writer is what you're ultimately after.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Quote of the Day

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.

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Directions for Beginners: Tips and Warnings

I found a great set of instructions for beginners on eHow.  Doesn't seem too intense, but it does seem like a lot of work. There are warnings that it may not be the most profitable profession, but fortunately for me--I'm looking for a side hobby/job to make money or build my resume. Eyes on the task and here we go!

On Becoming a Food Critic:


1. Write well. A good food critic is a storyteller, not just a knowledgeable diner.

2. Immerse yourself in your subject. Be knowledgeable about food, and read everything you can about food and dining.

3. Attend a culinary school or work in a professional kitchen, if possible. It's invaluable experience for a food critic.

4. Be enthusiastic about the subject; the reader can sense your passion in your prose.

5. Cultivate your palette. Experience eating a wide variety of foods.

6. Have some understanding of how a restaurant kitchen works, and know how mass production affects food.

7. Describe the meal in detail; what does it look, smell and taste like?

8. Give an in-depth picture of the entire meal, including descriptions of the restaurant and its decor. Detail how all aspects of the restaurant and the service contribute to the dining experience.

9. Do something else professionally while being a food critic. Food critics usually don't last more than five years.

Tips & Warnings

  • If possible, write for a publication in another capacity and vie for the food critic position.
  • It may be more fun to participate in something like the Zagat Survey, which can be accessed via the Internet or via e-mail, and keep food criticism as a hobby.
  • Realize that being a food critic is usually not a well-paid position, and there are only 30 to 40 such positions in the country.
  • The idea of being a food critic is much more appealing than actually being one. It's physically taxing to eat rich food or bad food every day of the week, but it's required if you're a professional.
  • It's unpleasant to bash restaurants, and it's even more unpleasant to regularly eat in restaurants that merit bashing.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Quote of the Day

"Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots."

-Frank A. Clark