Food Critic jobs(Also known as Restaurant critic, Food writer, Food journalist)
A food critic is tasked with supplying printed and web publications with original written copy that they can use as part of their features on food, drink and restaurant reviews. A food or restaurant critic is a writer who specialises in the areas of food and drink. Often, the critic will be required to attend new restaurant launches, special themed nights and trade shows. They must supply original content for use by the publication in their lifestyle and entertainment guides. It is a specialised writing job where the critic must have knowledge appropriate to the industry, and be able to discuss food presentation, service experience and food flavour in an engaging and informative way. Larger lifestyle publications will employ a writer to cover this subject matter in an ongoing way, although a majority of critics work freelance, supplying content to various newspapers and magazines. Those who work for a magazine on a full-time contract will usually be expected to cover feature areas outside their specialist subject, so may also be asked to supply reviews of property or entertainment venues from time to time.
SalarySpecialised writers who have a full-time placement with a specific magazine will typically earn between £11,000 and £18,000 per year, based on average earnings for 2009 for the London area. Writers outside the capital tend to be freelancers, as the work is more sporadic. Often, the job is remunerated on a “per word” basis, although a typical 600-word article is usually worth around £70. Rates of pay for freelancers with very well-known international lifestyle magazines are better, and a feature may be worth around £120. There are, of course, the additional perks of being able to attend very exclusive restaurants and receiving invitations to exclusive social events. Due to the nature of freelancing, a lot of food critics will work in other areas of journalism to pay the bills, and most will have an unrelated full-time job whilst they are making a name for themselves in their chosen field.
- Deliver clear and consistent appraisal of restaurant standards and food quality.
- Supply original, focused and engaging written copy to newspapers or magazines.
- Manage own time effectively to secure additional freelance writing jobs.
- Meet publishing deadlines.
- Depending on the size of the publication, some critics are also asked to supply original photography, or liaise with the venue in order to secure usage of their own photos.
- Be able to interview industry leaders and venue representatives.
- Deliver a written argument in a clear and unbiased way.
QualificationsThere are no formal academic qualifications which are required to perform this job. Anyone can elect to be a freelance writer, although most people choose to specialise in a specific subject area, which in turn demands knowledge and insight into that topic; food writing is no exception. Traditionally, it is an area where a writer's flair for the written word is allowed to flourish, so a good understanding of creative writing and language expression is essential in supplying exciting copy. Some writers express the belief that an A level in English is a benefit, although this does not guarantee that the writer will have a strong ability in being able to convey an exciting or authoritative written argument for use as copy.
- Understanding of reader expectations for food quality appraisal and service standards at various levels.
- Have an intuitive appreciation for creative writing, and an articulated gift for words.
- A broad and sensitive palate is an important and somewhat unique attribute.
- Be able to manage a dynamic “social calendar”, and be mobile enough to travel, sometimes over a considerable distance.
- Be a good manager of time constraints and managing multiple copy projects simultaneously.