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How to Become a Food Critic

Majors Overview December 18, 2012

Pre-requisites

Food critics visit restaurants and engage in testing and reviewing dishes served. They usually make observations on the atmosphere and service at restaurants. Food related websites, magazines and newspapers are the most popular employers of food critics who typically hold an undergraduate degree; they possess an in-depth knowledge of food and bring a level of writing experience to carry on their performance. We have outlined below the core pre-requisites for those seeking a job as a food critic (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

The most common educational requirement is a bachelor degree. The area of specialization may vary; a potential food critic can choose to major in journalism, communication, English or any other subject related to the liberal arts. A potential food critic is expected to have many years of experience as a journalist and must possess excellent communication skills as well as the ability for critical thinking and creativity. They will need to demonstrate computer skills including knowledge of social media software, online publishing and word processing.

Stage One: Earning an Undergraduate Degree

The texture, smell, appearance and taste of a dish must come alive in a review written by a food critic, which calls for excellent communication skills. Prospective food critics can attempt to obtain the necessary writing skills by majoring in communication, journalism or English. They may choose to complete a graduate program in culinary arts, and opt to learn about cooking techniques, chemistry and food composition. Courses in food reviewing and food media are offered at some schools. Food reviews readers expect honest and professional writing; prospective food critics must demonstrate critical thinking and be able to present unfavorable reviews in a logical and straightforward manner.

Experiment with different dishes, apart from writing an original way, food critics must be willing to try a variety of food items. Prospective food critics must get use to eating unappealing and exotic dishes along with analyzing the ingredients of every meal they try. They should read reviews written by other food critics to learn about specific aspects, which they should focus on.

Garner on-the-job experience; students can build their knowledge and skills by completing a food writing internship. A potential food critic can garner skills and knowledge by enrolling into an internship program where they can write well-researched articles about culinary news, nutrition or restaurants. They can manage a food blog or write a column focused on food for their college magazine.

Stage Two: Getting Hands-on Experience

Online publications, magazines and newspapers present the best platforms for potential food critics to hone their skills by writing reviews. The best way a journalist can choose to improve their career prospects as a food critic will be garnering job experience and create a portfolio of reviews. A potential candidate can choose to work as a freelance food writer. Those who are familiar with the serving, arrangement and preparation of dishes in a restaurant will improve their chances in becoming a food critic and students can obtain such knowledge by working in a restaurant. Students may travel and taste foreign dishes to broaden their culinary perspective. Students can consider joining a professional organization; for instance, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Association of Food Journalists. Journalists can rely on such bodies to provide valuable resources including conferences, industry guides and opportunities to network.

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