I believe that you have not completely experienced a place if you have not tasted their local cuisine. For me, food is part of one’s culture and to fully understand another culture, you have to know what sustains its people – and a big part of that is food. From there, you can unearth their beliefs, traditions, and even their untold stories.
When I started writing for an online magazine, I met a chef who was kind enough to introduce me to what we call food critics. These are people whose job is to visit restaurants, sample food, and then gives a verdict afterwards. They were also kind enough to tag me along on a number of restaurants reviews.
Throughout these visits, I was taught how to become a ‘notorious’ food critic. And by ‘notorious’ I mean, eating the whole course without giving away any reaction if the food was great or not. Robot, apathy, poker face … these are the words I would use to describe how I should look like whenever I was asked to critic a food.
For a while it was kind of fun especially when you look at the chef’s faces trying to dissect anything out of you just so they know if you liked (at least) the food you just ate. Sometimes we would walk into a restaurant with staff scrumbling to make us comfortable and make everything look tidy and nice. Because ambiance and service are part of the considerations you have to note in giving a good review. It’s funny most of the time, but then, you can’t laugh. You can do that in your car afterwards.
I have so much respect for food critics because of the control and professionalism they have. It’s pretty difficult to not give away a face when you feel like you just ate a whole block of salt in your plate. Uncooked meat, too much spice, gritty seafood … sometimes you’d be surprised that even high-end restaurants still make mistakes like these.
But while it’s fun to be a critic, I chose to be a food blogger instead. Because I just can’t guarantee that I can keep a straight face every time I need to sample some food. I want to be able to close my eyes and savor each bite of food I am privileged to sample. To nod or smile when it’s heavenly good. Or make a face when it’s not.
I want to be a food blogger that features local cuisines, secret recipes from different regions, and highlight traditional food as much as I can. And to show how different and how unique each cuisine is. I want to deliver that straight face or not.
From a food critic to a food blogger. I believe that sounds just right 😊