Poynter, one of the most consistently interesting sites on the Internet, pulls together food critics’ musings on how technology has changed what they do and how they do it. A couple of interesting perspectives and points here. Ruth Reichl, who used to edit Gourmet magazine:
Everybody has always thought they could be a food critic, that hasn’t changed.
One of the things I like about the “Yelps” of the world is that, as an audience, people can read all these things and read them intelligently instead of just listening to one voice.
One of the big problems I had as a critic was me just wanting to say “I’m just me, I’m just one person.”
Sure, I think about this stuff and I’m trained and I’m educated in this field, but I’m still just one person.
Craig Laban, the critic for the Philadelphia Enquirer, sees both a difference in the food-critic industry that’s driven by technology, and one in the things-to-critique industry:
If you do this long enough, you see the cycles and the fresh faces. Now it’s food trucks, and each restaurant has a farm and they’re making bitters for their own cocktails. More people want to make things for themselves and that makes life a lot more interesting for us. They’re making their own bread and charcuterie and bitters and taking whole animals and breaking them down.
We’re constantly moving forward forward forward, but we still need people who can remember the traditions and remember the food ways that tie us to our history. You don’t want all that to get lost in youthful energy.