Wednesday, September 29, 2010

All in a day's work: Do Food Writers tire of food?

Most of the time, people gush how awesome it must be to eat great food
every single day (firstly, it's not always great; secondly, it's not
every day; third, Appetite magazine nor Gastronommy are focused on
only reviewing restaurants--I try to be more 3-dimensional than that).
 But occasionally, someone will ask me, "Isn't it terrible?  Doesn't
it make eating less enjoyable because you're forced to do it as a

To answer that question...
There's something inherently wrong about calling it "terrible". We can
all think of at least a hundred worse job-requirements.  As for
eating, it doesn't make food any less appealing.  But I AM
getting sick of restaurants... then being watched expectantly, as
whoever I'm eating with waits and hopes for me to verbally pick apart
the meal.*
*edit: I should clarify that it is mostly the latter bit that I am sick of--the pretension of it all.  I suppose that's the price I have to pay when I "went to the dark side," as one chef friend put it.
And when I wrote this, I had just experienced weeks of restaurants that were mediocre at best.  I was getting jaded with Singapore's minuscule (but growing) Western dining scene.  I'm warming back up to it though.

I recently told Adrian (whom I've affectionately named my
unpretentious FoodNoob), if somehow he plans to take me out between
our impossibly busy schedules, PLEASE don't take me to a nice
restaurant in Singapore. I swear that was the biggest grin I got from him that
day--he was thrilled to hear it for a good number of reasons.

On multiple occasions, my FoodNoob has wondered aloud why I would date
him instead of some fellow food-enthusiast.  I'll tell you why: I
actually don't enjoy verbally dissecting food or one-upping each other
in who got to meet the latest greatest celebrity chef every last
minute of my day. Some self-confessed foodies drive me nuts--they're too over the top and try too hard to pick out what's not there. Multiple
hobbies are a good thing, people!

With all that said, don't get me wrong. I do discuss food and I still
and will always get excited about ongoings in the industry. And I always will love to

As a side thought, why did no one ever ask me that when I was in F&B
back in Hong Kong?  Man, was I tired of burgers and pasta for a good
two years after I started those projects.


  1. I have many hobbies of which I am probably good enough to do professionally, but know that I would lose all joy if it were to become a grind.

    Maybe it's a matter of whether it's a grind? The Phantom Gourmet's (food critic in Boston)life is different than say the life of the NYT critic, I imagine.

    Speaking of NYT, the 4 stars to Del Posto sparking a lot of debate here.

  2. It's to say if I'd hate food writing if I was forced to do it as a career but nonetheless, there will always be a part of us that enjoys food purely because we love to eat.

    Also, sometimes going out with non-foodies is better so that you won't get into crazy arguments over the technicalities of the dish you're eating, e.g. the different types of wagyu beefs or how jamon iberico is made.

  3. I prefer eating with non-foodies because otherwise I feel like I'm working!

  4. Do sex workers tire of sex? FFS another run of the mill journo grad.

  5. Hi,

    I happened to chance upon your lovely blog.

    I'm a professional food critic and I review restaurants for several publications in Singapore.

    There's never been a day when I tire of food (or the restaurants that I review).

    The day I tire of it is the day that I will lay down my pen.


  6. Thanks for your comments Alkanphel, Pretender and Evelyn.

    Evelyn, very happy to hear your thoughts. There's nothing like dedication to your craft. Are you by chance, Evelyn Chen?

    As for not wanting to be taken out to restaurants (in Singapore) by FoodNoob, I think I spoke to soon. After Jaan yesterday, I've been re-inspired by the new Ebbe Vollmer.

  7. Nice blog.. very nice to know about this topic... Thank you so much for posting this great article,
    Matt Levine



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