Archived Chat: How Did a Seattle P-I Restaurant Critic Become a Cook?

In this week’s live career chat, Joe Grimm and Colleen Eddy talked with Leslie Kelly, a former restaurant critic at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer who now works as a cook.

Here are some questions that Kelly answered prior to the chat. You can click on the chat replay below for her advice and responses to related questions about journalists in transition.

Age: Let’s just say the first newsroom where I worked in Lewistown, Mont., had typewriters.

I left because: Hearst pulled the plug on its print product after more than 130 years.

I was out of work for: The last newspaper rolled off the presses March 16 and my first day in the kitchens of Tom Douglas restaurants in Seattle was April Fool’s Day. No kidding.

I relied on: Savings. My husband also worked at the P-I, so our household income took a double hit, but we had a pretty decent nest egg. I’ve been working for minimum wage, though, which means my paychecks are about the same amount I used to spend on one review meal. That nest egg is getting smaller all the time.

This new gig is: Challenging, but so rewarding. I’ve always loved food and eating in restaurants wasn’t just my job, it was my passion. This opportunity has been incredibly enlightening. I’ve learned so much and met so many wonderful people, including a bunch of career changers. There are a whole lot of parallels between the kitchen and a newsroom: the tight quarters, the quirky personalities, the rush that comes from meeting deadlines, the commitment to do the best work and then hit the bar afterward.

One thing I miss about my old job is: The expense account.

One thing I don’t miss is: Keeping track of my receipts to file my expenses.

You can also revisit this link any time after the chat to watch a replay.

<a href=”″ >How a Restaurant Critic Transitions to be a Chef</a>

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