Do you have a keen interest in food preparation? Do you love trying new cuisines with your friends? Although this could be a hobby, you can get so much more out of it by learning how to become a food critic.
This is a select career path that requires commitment and hard work to thrive. It’s not just about providing simple reviews about meals you’re trying for the first time. Instead, being a food critic puts you in a position to help people redefine their perspective of different cuisines and food experiences.
To venture into this career path, there is a roadmap you must follow. In this post, I’m going to analyze some of the basic steps you need to follow to become a commercially successful food critic. You’ll also learn about the core skills that will enable you to perform your job competently. Without further ado, let’s dive into it!
What Does A Food Critic Do?
A food critic writes thoughtful commentaries on their different experiences with food. They visit restaurants, sample the food, and make a report on their experience dining in the restaurant. They don’t just write about the food, they always examine the overall service and presentation of the restaurant.
How Much Money Do Food Critics Make?
Food critics can work independently or with an organization. This determines how much they make. Notwithstanding, experienced food critics with a solid reputation can make around $80,000 to $90,000 per year reviewing restaurants and food.
Skills Required To Be A Food Critic
Building a successful career in this field is easier when you possess the necessary skills. Here are the basic skills you must have as a food critic:
- Impressive Writing And Communication Skills
A large aspect of your job as a food critic is writing. You must be able to communicate your ideas in a clear and interesting manner. Hence, excellent writing and communication skills can’t be overlooked. The content you give to your readers must be comprehensible and straight to the point.
To make your writing more captivating, you can infuse stories sometimes. You can easily engage readers with your storytelling ability.
If you want to learn how to become a food critic, bear in mind that honesty should be your watchword. You can’t be biased or allow personal feelings to influence the information you provide.
For example, if a restaurant doesn’t meet certain standards, you have to make that clear in your report irrespective of your personal relationship with the owner or staff of the establishment.
On the other hand, if you experience an exquisite restaurant with mouthwatering delicacies, give an objective critique of it.
- Knowledge Of Different Cuisines
One of the reasons you are probably interested in learning how to become a food critic is that you have tasted various types of cuisines and would love to share your experiences. Now, you have to build on this to be regarded as a seasoned food critic.
Learn so much about different dishes, cuisines, and cooking styles. Be familiar with flavors and know the difference between fine and casual dining. This means you would have to travel to different States and cities to sample all kinds of food.
How To Become A Food Critic In 6 Simple Steps
You don’t have to attend college or some large institution to learn how to become a food critic. There’s actually no college degree for it, which means almost anyone can choose this as a career. However, here are some steps to help actualize your plan of becoming a food critic:
1. Get Formal Training
To build up your skills quickly and get connected with the right people and establishments, you need to get formal training. What this means is you should consider getting a degree that is relevant to this field.
For example, journalism is a relevant profession that shares some similarities with a food critic. Moreover, since this is primarily about food, you can attend a culinary school to widen your knowledge of cuisines and preparation styles. This would help you learn how different meals are prepared and how a professional chef is supposed to act.
Besides, while you spend time in a culinary school, you can build credibility and be opportune to make connections with mentors in the food industry. By the time you take on your job as a food critic, the contacts you’ve made will be very useful to advance your career. This is one of the first steps to becoming a food critic.
2. Build Courage And Confidence
Courage and confidence are very similar qualities that you must adopt if you want to know how to become a food reviewer. As I mentioned earlier, being a food critic is like being a journalist. Your reports have to be honestly written without feeling intimidated or scared of the outcome of the review. You need to be courageous and confident if you want to do this job for a long time.
To develop these traits, you have to be very intentional about it. Read relevant books and listen to podcasts talking about how to build confidence. You can even go as far as attending seminars or taking crash courses to learn more about it.
3. Build Authority And Credibility By Creating Content
One of the ways to become a food critic that everyone is willing to pay attention to is by building authority and being credible in the field. You can achieve this by creating content on your own platform and sharing your real-life experiences with food and restaurants.
For instance, you can start a blog where you will regularly share these pieces of content. The more readers you attract, the more credibility you build. Over time, important figures in the industry will recognize and respect the reviews you publish.
Besides, if you look forward to making a lot of money from being a food critic, then you can’t ignore this. Having a blog or social media channel where you have grown a large audience will automatically turn you into a food influencer. Restaurants and food brands could pay you substantial amounts of money to promote their businesses on your platform.
4. Grow Your Network And Cultivate Your Skills
As with any career, cultivating your skills and nurturing your network is essential. I consider this one of the top tips on becoming a food critic. Build healthy relationships with chefs, journalists, publishers, hospitality professionals, and other relevant acquaintances who can help improve your career.
For example, if you choose to attend a culinary school, you would connect with an extended network of students and seasoned chef instructors. This is a very advantageous position to build and expand your network.
Similarly, you should also stay committed to improving your skills. Don’t stop learning. If you can, take additional courses, attend food events, listen to food podcasts, and even read books that would share insight into how to carry out your job better.
5. Take A Writing Internship
Writing is unavoidable when you want to learn how to become a food critic. As you try to improve your knowledge of food, you must also develop your writing skills. While you can learn how to write on your own, taking a writing internship won’t be a bad idea.
Learning from a professional writer would turn you into an articulate food critic. I should also add that writing continuously improves your speech. It makes you a very fluent speaker, and this is a relevant skill you need to communicate as a food critic.
On the other hand, if you can’t commit to an internship, you can take up a paid course or learn for free on YouTube. There are thousands of YouTube videos that will explain how to constantly get better at writing. Don’t forget that most of these videos are created by experts. So, it’s almost like taking a writing internship.
6. Write Independently
Before you eventually figure out how to become a food critic, you may be thinking about working for an establishment. However, the most successful food critics do not work for anyone. They build their careers independently, and that’s the area you should look at if you want to pursue this long-term.
There are different ways to monetize your expertise without having to look for a job. As I previously mentioned, creating content on your own will help you build credibility and authority. When you get to this point, brands wouldn’t mind paying you for promotion.
More importantly, one reason you should consider writing independently is to avoid being influenced by an employer. For example, if you work for an establishment, they could tell you what to publish and what not to publish. Apparently, this defeats the purpose of objectivity.
5 Best Websites That Pay You For Food Reviews
If you are looking for a way to get paid for food reviews as a beginner, here are some legit companies willing to hire and pay you:
This is a national publication that is focused on restaurants and the fascinating world of food.
The brand shares authentic stories about people’s food experiences and cultures across the world. You can apply for a job at Eater by submitting an article that reflects your writing style. It takes a while for your article to be reviewed, after which you get a response from the company.
If you get hired, Eater pays $0.07-$0.67 per word. If your content pulls more traction than most writers, the company can decide to increase your earnings. It remains one of the best websites that pay you for food reviews.
2. Travel + Leisure
If you love traveling and documenting your food experience, this company needs people like you.
Travel + Leisure is a magazine that shares interesting content about people’s dining adventures around the world. It doesn’t matter if you are in a local restaurant or a 5-star hotel, this magazine is interested in your food reviews.
The best part about working for this company is the attractive pay. Travel + Leisure pays writers $0.20-$2.00 per word. This makes it one of the most profitable websites that pay food critics.
3. Extra Crispy
Extra Crispy is a food-centered people publication that regularly shares fascinating articles about travel and food experiences.
If you are accepted as a food reviewer, this company expects you to write objective articles, discussing your personal experiences with new cuisines, street food, and interesting destinations. The company also encourages its writers to use humorous narratives to make the articles quite interesting to read.
4. Clean Eating
This is one of the credible food magazines where you can get paid to become a food critic. While it focuses on food, this publication likes to share stories about how food can be enjoyed in its natural state. So, Clean Eating is not interested in how you ate a $250 three-course meal at an exquisite restaurant. Even if you prepared a simple meal at home, you can write about it and publish the article on this website.
The company is focused on talking about traditional meals one can eat to live a healthy and satisfying life.
5. Bon Appetit
Even as you learn how to become a food critic, you can start making some money on the side. Bon Appetit is a major food magazine that can help you achieve this. The company hires writers who provide insightful and fascinating content about authentic food experiences.
Bon Appetit also has a set of strict guidelines that all its writers must follow to publish their articles and make money. Although this magazine doesn’t have a specific rate for writers, you can earn around $0.50 per word writing food reviews.
Final Thoughts On How To Become A Food Critic
Now that you have learned the steps on how to become a food critic, it’s time to build a successful career around your passion for food.
Like every other career, being a successful food critic won’t happen in one day. You have to sacrifice time and effort to get yourself educated, equipped with the necessary skills, and familiarize yourself with figures that can take your career to the next level.
Also, be focused on getting established on your own. Working for an organization as a food critic can prevent you from unlocking your full potential.
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