Critiquing a meal should be easy enough. We’ve all done it. At mom’s house. At holidays. It should be a dream job. In reality, food writing is an art. Would you like to meet the top food writers of our time? Read on.
It’s one thing to have a seasoned palette, quite another to bring all that you sense to the page, into a review or a book. Here is a list of ten well-known food writers whom you should be following. But beware, reading their work has been known to cause a few hungry stomachs. Read while full!
- Jonathan Gold – If you live in L.A. and you even remotely enjoy eating, then chances are you’ve heard of Jonathan Gold. He’s the Los Angeles Times food critic and won the Pulitzer Prize for his work in 2007 (the first food writer to do so). Now, his 101 Restaurants list is a thing of pure genius that gives any reader the insight needed on where to choose their next meal. Look for more from Gold here.
- Besha Rodell – For years, Rodell was L.A.’s sole anonymous food critic. She reviewed every new restaurant that came to the city and became one of the most recognized names in food during her decade of working in the field. She served as L.A.Weekly‘s food critic from 2012 to 2017 and has won numerous awards for her writing. While some food critics stick to the positive, Rodell was not one to shy away from the truth and tell it how it is. See Rodell’s work for L.A. Weekly here.
- Adam Platt – If you’re a restaurant owner in New York, Adam Platt is either a name you loathe or love. He is New York Magazine‘s restaurant reviewer and the winner of the James Beard Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Review Award. To check out Platt’s articles, click here.
- Ruth Reichl – This writer’s credentials could take up the whole article. She’s the author of My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Save My Life, is the former Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine and prior to that was the restaurant critic of both The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. The foodie has 6 James Beard Awards and was named Adweek‘s Editor of the Year in 2007. For more info on Reichl, follow this link.
- Katherine Spiers – Katherine Spiers is the current Food Editor for L.A. Weekly. She’s also worked for numerous other outlets including Gawker Media, Serious Eats, Saveur and Metromix. She was nominated for the honor of best food podcast by Saveur for her podcast “Smart Mouth,” a show that highlights some of the coolest people and their favorite foods. Spiers decided to enter the world of food writing because of all the subject can teach you, she says.“You can learn so much – maybe even the most – by studying food. It’s kind of a living history. I always wanted to be a journalist, and felt I’d be better at features than news,” Spiers has said. Learning about food, the editor says, also gives you the opportunity to learn about people. When asked what the best part of her job is, she said “Learning more about cultures, and how the city you’re in is changing.” Read some of Spiers’ work here.
- Michael Bauer – For more than 28 years, Bauer has been on the food scene, holding the title of Restaurant Critic and Editor-at-Large for The San Francisco Chronicle. Before that, he worked for the Kansas City Star and the Dallas Times Herald. Not only has he won numerous James Beard awards, but he also is a member and past chairman of the awards committee. On top of that, he’s also the past president of the Association of Food Journalists and the editor and author of three cookbooks. For Bauer’s work click here.
- Amanda Hesser – Ms. Hesser is the CEO of Food52, which was named the Publication of the Year by the James Beard Foundation in 2012. It was also named the Best Culinary Website by the International Association of Culinary Professionals the last three years. Before that, the food lover was a Reporter and Food Editor at The New York Times. She’s also written numerous cooking and food books. Hesser has been named one of the 50 most influential women in food by Gourmet. Now that’s a woman who knows what good eating is all about. For Hesser’s recipes and more, head here.
- Nigella Lawson – This food goddess is the author of bestseller How To Eat and can be seen in your living rooms as the host for her own cooking series, “Nigella Bites” or on Food Network‘s “Nigella Feasts.” She also was one of the judges for “Iron Chef America” and starred alongside Anthony Bourdain on “The Taste.” Safe to say she knows her stuff. Look for more from Lawson here.
- Pete Wells – Since 2011, Wells has been a Restaurant Critic for the esteemed New York Times. Before becoming a critic for the outlet, he was the dining editor starting in 2006. And, prior to that, he wrote a column called “Cooking With Dexter” for The New York Times Magazine- all about his father’s life in the kitchen. His name can also be credited to the column “Always Hungry” for Food & Wine. Finally, he’s received five James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards for his work. See what Wells is up to here.
- Jenn Harris– Harris is currently the Los Angeles Times’ deputy food section editor and is the former host of the “Forkin’ Amazing” food radio show on TradioV.com.“Each week I talked about food in the news, I welcomed guest chefs from around L.A. and talked about the certain foods I felt you absolutely needed to try that week. I hosted the show for about a year and a half,” Harris said.
Harris is a self-proclaimed happy hour enthusiast and you can bet you’ll see her checking out the finest restaurants in the city of angels on any given night.“I’ve always loved food and grew up in a household that really appreciated a good meal. I’m fortunate enough to have parents who took me to eat Iranian food or Ethiopian food on the weekends. And both grandmothers, and my mother cook, so I spent a lot of time in the kitchen growing up. I’ve also always loved writing and the power of writing,” she said.While enjoying great meals is a huge perk to the job, Jenn also knows that being a food writer isn’t all fun and games.
“To write a good food-related article I think you need context, and to do the research. There is a story behind every dish, and knowing that story, the history behind the dish, what inspired the chef to make it, all contribute to a good piece of writing. I also think you need to pay for what you eat. If there is going to be any transparency in your reporting about a restaurant, you need to pay for the meal you write about.” she said. “Food is different from covering other topics because to cover it, you need to experience it. You need to try it. If you’re going to write about a restaurant, you need to go there and eat.The writer says there isn’t just one restaurant in L.A. that she can claim as a favorite, but there’s a likely chance she can be seen enjoying cuisine from places like Night Market, Jitlada, Bar Ama, Howlin’ Ray’s, Cassia and Cut quite frequently.
To read Jenn’s work click here.