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magnolia

culinary training/education

2 posts in this topic

As a corollary to Rail Paul's question - to what extent do you think a restaurant critic needs to be a cook - i.e. are critics 'born' or 'made'? How much does it matter if a restaurant reviewer is someone who eats out seven days a week, or stays in six days a week learning/practicing the kinds of dishes he/she is likely to be critiquing?

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I guess a restaurant critic doesn't have to be a cook, just as a music critic doesn't have to play an instrument. On the other hand, a basic understanding of techniques and ingredients is crucial, and learning to cook is an obvious way to acquire such an understanding.

Also, while our job is to serve readers and not chefs or restaurant owners, a reviewer needs to have a certain level of empathy with the staff. Otherwise we risk souding arrogant and uninformed, and setting unrealistic expectations.

About eating out 6 or 7 times a week: full-time reviewers do just that. I am not a full-time reviewer. If I could, I'd dine out more often, if only to have a broader context for comparing restaurants with one another.

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