You’ve been dining out ever since you were knee high to a Grasshopper pie. That experience accompanied by a generous serving of solid writing skills, and a side dish of smart market research, ensures that you can eat, drink and make money.
Getting restaurant reviews published in e-zines, blogs or sites such as http://www.tripadvisor.com/ is easier than getting your byline in traditional media, but it’s harder to find good pay, typically.
However, the ‘net is an all-u-can-eat buffet of facts to spice up your articles. One of my favorite food websites is http://www.epicurious.com. In addition to the ‘net and reference staples such as a thesaurus, the restaurant review writer’s larder should be stocked with ethnic, foreign, specialty and classic cookbooks.
A file folder stuffed with samples of other writers’ restaurant critiques is inspiring, especially after you’ve written several reviews and are starving for a fresh way to say “delicious.”
As always, you’ll ascertain the target publication’s preferences in word count, slant, attitude and so forth to avoid rejections. There are questions to sift out that are unique to writing restaurant critiques. My sumptuous article about a French restaurant was rejected because the magazine only accepted restaurant reviews of restaurants that had advertised in their
publication. Getting the mag’s submission guidelines would have spared me from disappointment.
Find out if reviewers are paid a standard fee. Are they reimbursed for meals? Who provides the photos? Are menu prices listed? Is dinner dinner or is dinner supper? Are restaurants rated on a five-fork scale? How are negative opinions expressed? (Most editors prefer to publish positive, yet honest critiques.)
Are readers likely to know what fricassee means? Is the chef’s or manager’s bio mentioned? Is the writing sensual or businesslike or technical? Are storytelling techniques used? Apart from all those permutations of policy and style, the prime objective of restaurant reviews is informing readers what to expect if they dine at the reviewed restaurant. The second objective is entertaining readers, regardless.
Before zeroing in on a specific restaurant to review, look for gaps in the target publication’s coverage. Have previous articles covered downtown cafes, but skimped on bistros and diners in the ‘burbs and hinterlands? What about vegetarian restaurants? Kosher restaurants? How about an article that focuses on restaurants serving wild game? When a new restaurant pops up, be the first to pop your piece de resistance in the mail to an editor.
It’s 1965 and Ken Paderson is itchin’ to get his driver’s license, but his world turns upside down when he and his dad are whisked off to a remote army outpost in Japan. Bento, moshi and udan replace lunch box, rice and spaghetti. The novel, Ken’s War, is slated for publication this May by Melange Books LLC. Please like the brand new site https://www.facebook.com/kenswar.