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Loneliness of the Self-Reliant Food Writer

Loneliness of the Self-Reliant Food Writer

Does the restaurant review have as much importance as we think it does? Do we, as restauranteurs, sub-consciously create experiences to gain the approval of the press or our guests? I wanted to try and answer these and other question by bringing the outlook of the restaurant critic/food writer to our conversation on Legend & Liars. As you listen to my conversation with James Norton it becomes evident that food writers are not all the same in how they approach the role for restaurant critic. Though they would as a group agree that they try to walk into a restaurant with no preconceptions or prejudices, they would all be inherently wrong. They’re human after-all. They may not think they’re walking in ready to bash or elevate their upcoming experience, but they do bring with them all the previous meals that lined up before it. Each shaping the lens they see through.  

However, it doesn’t take long to understand that even though James will always have an opinion about the experience, sometimes the opinion he winds up with is that he doesn’t have an opinion. Talking with him you can hear the unabashed interest he has in food and the restaurants that serve us. He is more interested in telling the stories of the lesser known than following the cult of personality fashioned and realized by other food writers.

His descriptions of the sights, sound, taste and flavor are clear that he is trying to look at the experience of eating or dining without a prejudice, a ruling preconception or specific relationship with the restaurant creator or Chef. A very important quality that many food writers seem to lack. Hence his feeling of loneliness at times in the forest of food writing.

The Growler Magazine

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 Soleil Ho – Restaurant critic San Francisco Chronicle



How a Cheeseburger Changed My Career

How a Cheeseburger Changed My Career