Friday, January 12, 2007

WANTED: Dining Critic

First things first: Why did Tom leave?

He has a full-time job elsewhere and was recently promoted to supervisor, giving him less time to do the restaurant reviews .... which don't pay nearly as well.

Seconds thing second: You can take his job

All you have to do is a sample review. It can be based on a place you've already been or a new place. Deadline is noon on Jan. 26.

Your samples will be posted here for others to praise and ridicule.

Our criteria is obvious. We're looking for somebody with a good knowledge of food and fun writing style.

E-mail your submissions to

And feel free to put in your comments here about our former reviewers. Who did you like best and why?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only section of the Gazette that I regularly read is the dining section, and I am looking forward to a change. Actually I found Tom's reviews well written and interesting, and although I do enjoy good Asian dining, I thought he reviewed that type too often.

I just finished reading the reviews from candidates 1 through 15 and I think Warren may have missed the mark a bit by suggesting that candidates review a restaurant they've already been--it seems that all have written about their favorite place. The reviewer's writing style might change dramatically when they're out of their "comfort zone".

So what is it that readers want from the weekly dining review? Obviously I can't speak for everyone, but as an avid reader of this section I'd like to see several things. First, I would like to see variety. Certainly this means different cuisine, but it also means venue (from bare bones to opulent). Second, I prefer a writing style that isn't too haughty or pretentious (we've had some of those in the past and Tom was a welcome respite). Third, the reviewer should focus on the subject and not waste a lot of time trying to amuse us, which arguably may be the most difficult balance to maintain. Fourth, and perhaps most important, I want to learn something new each week.

Hmmm…sounds like my preference is Tom, just with fewer reviews of Asian places. But lacking that option I vote sending candidates 14 and 15 to places they’ve never been to see how those reviews shake out.


1:45 PM  
Blogger Warren Epstein said...

Dear freeflyt,

I was the one who chose the restaurants Tom reviewed, so you can blame me for the Asian-heavy line-up.

I admit that I love Thai, Japanese, Thai, Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese. But the reason we've reviewed so many Asia places has more to do with the fact that so many new ones have opened.

As a point of clarification, I didn't ask candidates to review places they'd already been. It was their choice. I just hope they didn't spend too much money for the tryout.

This is just the first step in the process. The next will be gathering the finalists and sending them to a restaurant of my choosing. So they'll all go to the same place.

Apples vs. apples. It should be some fun judging, and I'll post those tryouts, too.

About our previous critics, I think we've been lucky.

Anne Christensen knew food inside and out and could deconstruct dishes on an almost chemical/molecular level.

Ralph Millis had the experiences of a world traveler and a nice folksy style.

Tom Karpel didn't come into the job knowning as much as Anne and Ralph about food, but he was a solid writer and a quick study.

I'm confident, in reading these tryouts, that our next critic will reach the high bar those reviewers set.

12:27 PM  

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