Do You Have What It Takes to Become a Food Critic?

by Angela Puma
What do they do? Food critics are responsible to supplying the public with unbiased reviews of restaurant establishments and the food that is served there. The qualities of a good food critic are a love for food, a curious attitude, and strong writing skills. Food critics travel to many restaurants and sample the food there. Some critics specialize in a particular type of cuisine, while others will report on a range of restaurants in a local area. Most of the time, the critic’s employer will pick up the tab for the meal. Anonymity is very important in the reviewing field, as reviewers are looking to capture the experience of a typical customer. Impartiality is a key quality for a critic, as their reviews have more value if they are unbiased.

Where are they published? Food reviews are published on a variety of media outlets. Most newspapers have a section for food reviews. Some magazines also include reviews. In recent times, more and more internet reviewing mediums have been popping up. These include blogs and websites that are dedicated to delivering food reviews. The Internet has opened up opportunities for freelance food critics to run websites and food blogs of their own.

What education do I need? Food critics should have a background in both culinary arts and journalism. Taking culinary classes will give you the experience that you need to properly assess the food you are reviewing. Taking classes will teach you proper flavor combinations, as well as technique. With this knowledge, you have more authority to critique food. It is also helpful to have experience working hands on in the food industry. Taking journalism or writing classes will be useful to you. Most reviewers must write articles about their experiences for journalism outlets, so it is helpful to be familiar with journalism standards as well as develop strong writing skills.

How can I start? You have a few different options to begin your career as a food critic. One option is to go freelance by creating your own blog or website for reviews. This option provides a lot of flexibility, but it might be a bit challenging to get your work out into the open. However, if your blog does gain enough attention, it could be a great tool that will help you get noticed by a larger publication and open up future job opportunities. An alternative option would be to build a review portfolio and apply for a job at a local newspaper writing about food. The more experience you gain, the better your future job outlook will become.

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