The first requirement is writing ability. People don't want to read reviews that describe a meal as “good” or “OK.” Food critics are expected to give readers expert advice on food and a sense of the entire experience of a particular restaurant. This includes a restaurant's décor (the way it looks), service, and overall vibe. Even the way food is presented on the plate when it is delivered to a table is something readers should be told. Good food critics observe as much as they can in order to make readers feel like they were seated at the table with the reviewer. If the food is great, but the waiter accidentally drops a stick of butter down a reviewer's back, the review may not be too favorable.
A large vocabulary is also a plus for food critics. “The rosemary trout was purely atrocious,” adds more spice to a review than simply writing, “I did not care for the fish.” Another necessity for aspiring food critics is a solid knowledge of food and the way it is prepared. Some critics have worked in kitchens as cooks or chefs. Culinary school is not required, but a few short courses here and there may help. Knowing how food is prepared gives food critics a better idea of how a meal should taste and provides the ability to identify good and bad aspects of certain dishes.
Scaredy-cats need not attempt this profession. If you took a solemn oath never to eat a snail as long as you live, you may be in for a short-lived career as a food critic. Good critics must be able to eat adventurously and often. Some food critics may need to make multiple trips to the same eatery if its menu is varied.
Local news shows, radio programs, newspapers, and magazines are the usual employers for food critics. Many critics review food for a number of publications or have an additional job. The average critic with steady employment reviews one or two restaurants per week, which may not provide enough money on which to live. Television jobs pay much more, but they are usually reserved for very experienced critics.
Another piece of advice: Be honest and fair. The word “critic” doesn't always have to be negative. If the food is not very good, a wise critic might make recommendations or give suggestions on how to improve a certain meal or restaurant.
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