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How To Be A Critic Of The Culinary Arts

Aug 17, 2007
What It Entails

Food writers are treated like celebrities. They are almost like stars of the screen or stage. People not only follow their columns regularly, they even visit or avoid restaurants on their advice and even quote from their articles to friends. However, being a food critic isn't always easy. The idea of being a food critic is actually a lot more appealing than the essence of actually being one. It is a physical challenge to keep eating "rich" food or "bad" food frequently.

Required Skills

To be a good food critic, one needs not only to have good writing skills, but also an unwavering ethical sense and an understanding of the culinary arts. As a critic, good writing skills are essential. When condemning a restaurant with a bad review, the person must be able to write diplomatically, stating specific opinion, without being overly offensive. Similarly, the critic must be able to write a positive review with enough detail to explain to the reader why the reviewed restaurant is good.

Ethics are a major consideration in the field. It is important to remain anonymous on a restaurant visit. The writer's goal is to assess the food and service and this can be best accomplished with anonymity. Many restaurants expect a positive review in exchange for a free meal. This can be awkward, especially if the meal wasn't all it was expected to be.

Where Can I Learn?

The most important requirement, however, is the thorough knowledge of the culinary art. If you are not an expert in the culinary art, no one will believe your reviews. Knowledge gives credibility and writing about a subject you are not familiar with will make your judgment questionable and your credentials doubtful. There are a number of ways to gain this knowledge. There are books, magazines and other media that focus on the culinary art and organize classes.

Concepts like food preparation, presentation and operating a commercial kitchen are an integral part of food criticism. Most culinary schools offer recreational and short-term food appreciation classes, along with their associate's and bachelor's degree programs. This allows the aspiring food critic to decide a level of expertise desired.

Job Prospects

There are a number of jobs available for writers who want to focus on the culinary arts. For example, newspapers, general and culinary magazines frequently have staff writers, columnists, restaurant reviewers and editors who write about and edit articles on the culinary art. A number of publications also accept the work of freelance writers, allowing food writers to maintain a certain degree of autonomy, as well as pursue a parallel career. Regional and tourist guidebooks, city entertainment guides and a large number of Internet websites also accommodate food columns. A food critic who is an expert is valuable asset to any publication.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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