Miami Foodie

How to Become A Food Critic

Posted on: February 12, 2009

WikiHow has an extremely informative “tip list” on food writing and becoming a food critic. Please see below.

1. Develop fantastic writing skills as a newspaper reporter. You can have the most discriminating palate in the world, but you’ll never make it as a food critic if you can’t communicate well. If you are heading for school, major in journalism or English. Work on the university paper and try to write as many articles as you can on food and the arts. If you can’t go to school full-time, try to take courses part-time and/or look into getting an internship at a local magazine or newspaper.
2. Become familiar with the restaurant business. Owning or co-owning a restaurant is very practical for a food critic. At the very least, you should know how things operate behind the scenes. If possible, work in restaurants and study how they work from top to bottom. Ask many questions. Educate yourself.
3.
Test the limits of your palate. To be a food critic, you must have an incredible and adventurous palate. Expand your curiosity and be prepared to try every kind of food and drink. You might have to be brave at times and go way out of your comfort zone. It really helps to be the kind of person who has tremendous zest for life willing to take many adventures and risks. This job is not for the faint hearted. Try anything and everything you come across, no matter how strange or foreign it may seem, and record your impressions as descriptively as you can. Training your palate is like exercising a muscle. You need to be able to detect the subtle nuances of flavor and seasoning in food.
4. Become an expert in food. Your goal should be to become a first class connoisseur of cuisine. Food should become your life! Dedicate yourself to searching out the finest, latest, rarest and most delicious incredible culinary knowledge. Read the cookbooks from all the great master chefs from all around the world. You should be obsessive in your search for new food trends and ideas.

* Travel to food and wine festivals, from first class to the obscure.
* Study the art of cooking. Take cooking classes non-stop. You should attain a “chef” level in cooking as a goal.
* Build your culinary vocabulary. Frequent fresh food markets and learn about produce and herb seasonings from all over the world.
* Try to take a few wine classes and make many visits to wineries. A good appreciation of wine is crucial. Knowing how to taste wine can also develop your palate.
* Consider becoming an expert on certain foods, such as dark chocolate, later in your career. Many food writers also immerse themselves in the history and culture of food to add depth to their articles.
* Study French, Spanish and Italian. Learn at least one language fluently as well as being versed in the languages of Japan, China and the Mediterranean.
5. Research other food critics and chefs. This is imperative. Everyone has their own style of food writing.You need to find your own “voice”. You should read the works of M.F.K. Fisher, A.J. Liebling, Elizabeth David, Calvin Trillin, A.A. Gill and Robert Courtine.
6. Write reviews. When you go to a new restaurant, go with three friends. Bring someone who’s familiar with that kind of cuisine (such as if the cuisine is ethnic, and your friend grew up in the country it originated from). Ask everyone to order something different (including appetizers and dessert) and take two bits of every dish, including your own. Then stop eating. The reason for this is twofold: it helps you maintain a healthy weight, and it helps leave enough room in your stomach for everything. (Besides, you can always ask to have things wrapped up and take them home, or your friends might have fun finishing what you didn’t.) Between each dish, try to take a mental snapshot of the dish, and remember your impressions of it. Do not take notes at the restaurant. Wait until you get home, in the car, or even the bathroom. You don’t want to tip the restaurant off that you’re a reviewer. After your first visit to the restaurant, do it all over again. This time, you and your companions should order dishes that you didn’t have the time before. That way, you’ll have tried many different dishes and can get a good idea for how you’re going to rate that restaurant.[1]

* Also pay attention to the ambiance and service. Make note of anything that contributes to or takes away from the experience. Food critics often have an extensive checklist that includes, but is not limited to the impressiveness of the food.[2]
* If you’re going to make a career out of critiquing food, it’s important that you don’t become recognizable. Once people know who you are, they’ll try especially hard to make sure you enjoy their food which, while nice, can interfere with your review of the food. After all, your readers won’t get that kind of treatment, and your job is to let them know what they can expect as an average person, not a food critic. Make reservations under a fake name (or else they might recognize your real name with what’s published in the paper) and keep a low profile (don’t go to benefits, wine dinners, or other gatherings; don’t appear on television or participate as a celebrity in events; don’t accept offers to try a chef’s cuisine).[1] Failing to keep your anonymity intact may warrant a lot of criticism from readers.[3]
7. Create a portfolio of at least 40 written articles that you have written on food, wine, restaurants, chefs, food festivals, etc. If your plan is to become a food critic, then you must write all the time to have something to show to editors. Schedule writing one article a week until you build up a body of writing work. Consider starting a blog.
8. Apply to different newspapers and magazines regarding writing food columns. A big part of your life will be writing newspaper stories about all aspects of food. You will not start out as a food critic in most cases. You will start at the very bottom. There will be no job you won’t do. When you do land a job at a newspaper, keep a travel bag packed at all times in your office or car. You might even get a job that doesn’t focus on food at all, but it’ll put your foot in the door and you can write about food on the side–in some cases, you’ll inherit a food critic’s position as a result.[1]

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Twitter

Delicious

%d bloggers like this: