Food writing

Sam Sifton named NYT food editor

Sam Sifton is The New York Times’ new food editor. The paper will also rename its Dining section Food.

Memo to staff from Executive Editor Dean Baquet: Read more


Oregonian photo prompts discussion about anonymity of Portland food critics

Willamette Week

Oregonian food critic Michael Russell’s face, or part of it, really, may be visible in a photo the newspaper published as part of an online slide show, Martin Cizmar writes, saying that the anonymity of Portland food critics “might finally be dying.”

Actually, every staff critic in Portland previously worked another beat, where they weren’t anonymous. Russell, for example, was famously characterized as “a cops reporter who had washed dishes in a restaurant kitchen” by former Seattle Weekly food critic Hanna Raskin. As the old guard moves along—or, like Karen Brooks, the dean of Portland food critics, gets an offer to judge on Top Chef and has a new book to promote—most people in the generation that replaces it will have been photographed daily from birth.

Read more
1 Comment

Latest issue of Swallow Magazine features the smells of Mexico City

The New York Times | Swallow Magazine

The latest edition of Swallow Magazine, a rarely published food periodical founded in 2009, features a novel way to experience the smells of Mexico City’s culinary scene: Scratch and sniff stickers.

Maria Newman writes on the New York Times’ Diner’s Journal blog that the new issue, the title’s third in four years, will contain 20 stickers that use the familiar microencapsulation technique to stimulate readers’ olfactory senses. Editor James Casey decided to use the work of Sissel Tolaas, a Norwegian “odor artist” who re-created the smells of 200 Mexico City neighborhoods. Read more


Pete Wells answers NYT readers’ questions about his Guy Fieri restaurant review

The New York Times
“And I thought I had a lot of questions about Guy Fieri,” Times restaurant critic Pete Wells writes.

Wells stirred up a storm with his nothing-but-questions, scathing review of Guy Fieri’s Times Square restaurant, and readers responded with their own questions for Wells in a Q&A on the Times’ website.

“How, with so many great restaurants in the city, that one made the list of spots to review”? … “Did editors ask you to tone things down, or does the final product represent most of what you initially penned?” … Wasn’t this “little more than an exercise of shooting fish in a barrel”? Read more

1 Comment

Pete Wells explains his review of Guy Fieri’s restaurant

After he visited Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square, Pete Wells wanted to know why the Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders were so far from awesome, and why the bourbon butter crunch chips were missing from his Almond Joy cocktail.

The New York Times restaurant critic did, decidedly, have more questions than answers. So instead of taking a traditional approach to his much-talked-about review, he wrote the whole thing as a series of questions.

“I really did have a lot of questions; there was so much about the restaurant that I couldn’t figure out,” Wells said by phone. “When I sat down to think about how I was going to approach the review, I just started going over the things I couldn’t understand and the things that seemed so strange to me. Read more

Sarcoa error1

Paper confuses name of local restaurant with form of cancer

Continuing with today’s theme of embarrassing media mistakes about restaurants, I offer you this seemingly mundane correction from Canada’s Hamilton Spectator:

In the June 16 edition, the name of Hamilton waterfront restaurant Sarcoa was misspelled. The Spectator regrets the error.

No, it’s not great for a new restaurant to have its name misspelled in the local paper. But even worse is the mistaken name offered by the paper: Sarcoma. That’s a form of cancer. Yeah, worse than just a misspelled name. But very memorable!

Here’s the offending article:

Read more


Sacramento Bee food writer apologizes for criticizing food of dead chef

Today’s useful reminder to always double-check that people are still employed in the position you think they are comes from the food critic of the Sacramento Bee.

Blair Anthony Robertson’s recent review of Silva’s Sheldon Inn included a reference to Don Brown, whom Robertson believed was still the sous chef at the restaurant. That reference came in the course of a lukewarm review.

Robertson concluded his review by asking and answering two questions: “… is it a dining destination? For the curious and those seeking country charm and solid cooking? Sure. For foodies? Not anymore.”

An editor’s note has since been added to the story, and Robertson issued an additional apology online.


Don Brown, you see, has been dead for a little more than two years. Read more


Recipes, vertical photos shared most on Pinterest

Dan Zarrella
Social media data analyst Dan Zarrella has tracked what kind of content gets “repinned” most often on Pinterest.

The lessons: Items about food (particularly recipes) and tall vertical photos seem to get the most sharing traction. So the photo embedded here, for example, seems almost irresistible to a Pinterest user. Images about design and style are the most commonly pinned overall.

The most pinned words are: love, home, things, style, ideas.

Related: Those Pinterest recipes? Sometimes not so good (Gaston Gazette) | Pinterest is now the 3rd most-visited social network (AllFacebook) | Amazon, eBay add Pinterest sharing buttons (TechCrunch) || Earlier: How journalism professors are using Pinterest (Poynter) | Pinterest updates terms of use (Poynter). Read more


SF Chronicle, Washington Post win 4 food journalism awards each

Association of Food Journalists
Food journalism honored its best at a banquet in South Carolina last Thursday. There were 45 winners chosen from 280 entries. Read more


Food journalists mull rules change to compete against amateur critics

Washington City Paper
The Association of Food Journalists’ current guidelines say “reviewers should wait at least one month after the restaurant starts serving before visiting.” Chris Shott notes that the AFJ’s guidelines haven’t changed since they were first written about 10 years ago — before the rise of TV chefs, social media or food blogs, which often post sneak-peak photos of restaurant interiors and full menus. “Long gone are the days when a restaurant didn’t see a packed house until a newspaper chimed in.”

Given that many professional food critics used to see themselves as the paid protectors of said diners—zealously guarding their culinary dollar against mediocre food and subpar service—are those who still follow the traditional timetable essentially fighting with one fork tied behind their backs?

Read more

Get the latest media news delivered to your inbox.

Select the newsletter(s) you'd like to receive:
Page 1 of 3123