Technically Correct Dining


I’ve always secretly wanted to be a food critic along the lines of Ruth Reichl or Gael Greene; I love every little intricacy of restaurant analysis –  from the paper the menu is printed on to the dishware, from the lengthy list of source-specific ingredients to the artistry of the presentation.

So when a recent New Yorker had an actual interview with a New York-based Michelin reviewer, I geeked out.

The Michelin Guide is known for being “famously anonymous,” so much so that their actual criteria for reviews hasn’t really been known EVER. The criteria for their recruiting their reviewers is just as fuzzy as everything else.

In the article, the New Yorker’s John Colapinto actually sits down for lunch with Reviewer X at Jean-George’s.  A few interesting tidbits – reviewers aren’t able to tell anyone what they do (spouses are barely in the “ok” bubble);  reviewers typically dine out around 200 days a year (lunch and dinner)- and they must go alone;  reviewers must order the maximum number of courses offered, and they must eat everything on their plate.

All in all, it’s a fascinating read. Reviewer X herself admits that the job is not about money- rather, it’s about having a passion for the dining experience so strong that you’re willing to sacrifice almost everything else. When you think about it, it’s the same dedication for those chef’s competing to gain a star or maintain the ones they have.


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