1. That I’m so lucky to eat for a living
2. Are all my meals free?
It’s my principle to always answer email, so some of you reading this may already know what I’m about to tell everyone else. Consider this a “behind-the-scenes” look at the life of a Food Editor.
Yes, I do love what I do. I think it’s rare for a person to be paid to do something he/she loves, and not see it as a job. I’m also fortunate that I get to lock in my passion for food with my job; it’s a dream, I tell you. Add to that the fact that I work with some of the brightest, most talented, and nicest people in this industry.
No, not all my meals are free; I generally prefer to pay my way, unless I’m out on a date with my husband. (Heh heh). Seriously though, only a small number of my meals are “on the house,” so to speak, which suits me just fine. I take great pride in telling the truth to GetAsia readers about whether or not a place is worth their time and money as well as what dishes are good there. It takes out a lot of the guesswork in what to order, and you avoid ordering the “wrong thing.” Also, I hate it when I get so hyped up about a restaurant after reading its review. I weave my way through traffic to get there, and then get so disappointed with the place. That’s the pits, I think. Therefore, you can be assured that everything I write is free from BS.
Customer, not critic
I’m not sure about the MO (modus operandi) of other food writers, but I generally don’t like to announce my presence when I’m featuring/reviewing a restaurant. When the manager or servers know I’m planning to write about them, they tend to hover ”“ that is, they always have their eye on me and I’m always being asked how I like my food. I prefer being just like the average diner and getting the same kind of service. That way, I know exactly how patrons will be treated and how the meal will be served. Food writers get the best service and the largest portions, and I think every customer who walks into a restaurant should also be treated that way. It’s all about service ”“ customer service.
A few days ago, someone tells me, “Wow, since you’re a food writer, you must really be critical of what you eat, huh?” Let me put it this way. My reason for going to restaurants is just like everybody else’s ”“ I want to enjoy the food and the ambience that the place can offer. I have great respect and admiration for restaurateurs. It’s no joke to put up your own place and deal with the little headaches attached to it. My purpose for doing what I do is letting people know just what they can expect from a particular place, be it positive or negative.
While my life as a food editor is mostly all roses, there are some down sides. Believe it or not, there are some restaurants that don’t want to be written about. Don’t ask me why because I still don’t know. Some places also don’t want me to take pictures, which of course is impossible because how can an article titillate and tease without visual aids? Then there are some restaurants that insist I send a proposal letter to their head office outlining my reasons for wanting to feature them as well as my game plan. Good lord, this is an article, not a plan of attack! Grrr. Don’t people want the publicity?
But my complaints are small, compared to the joy that being a food editor brings to me: the email from readers, being on a first name basis with some chefs, knowing juicy tidbits about some restaurants – such as plans for a new menu, and of course, getting paid to eat and write about it.
Sigh. It’s a great job and someone has to do it.