Restaurant Critic

Mission

The Chronicle is the Bay Area's authoritative news source, focused on San Francisco but inclusive of all Bay Area and western U.S. news that reflects the unique Bay Area experience.

The mission of The Chronicle's Food and Wine Team is to provide the most engaging and influential coverage of the region's food and drink culture, one of the most dynamic on the planet. The team reports with accuracy and sweep, tells stories through vivid and entertaining language, and critiques with insight and flair. It breaks news then pulls off in-depth coverage of trends, people and issues. A deep love of all things food and drink, and the joy these can bring, informs our coverage. Ultimately, the team strives to lead the conversation - online, in print, on social media - around food and drink both locally and nationally.

Job summary

The Restaurant Critic is the most prominent media voice in one of the top dining destinations in the world. The Critic is a cultural thought leader, sparking and shaping how readers, chefs and makers understand the state of Bay Area dining.

Through regular critical reviews, the Critic points audiences toward the exceptional dining to be had at the region's rich range of restaurants. This is achieved via direct experience eating out, smart reporting, engaging writing and careful critical thinking.

Beyond evaluating individual restaurants, chefs and cooks, the Critic reports and comments on emerging dining trends and has a healthy skepticism toward current conventions. The Critic is a key member of the Food and Wine team and not only shares knowledge and perspective with the team but, with the Food & Wine Editor, points other writers toward coverage.

Reporting structure

The Restaurant Critic reports to the Food & Wine Editor

Expectations

Breadth of coverage

  • The Critic views writing on dining as a rich journalistic endeavor -- an opportunity to talk about not only food but class, race, economics, appetite, emotion, conflict and humanity.
  • Covers -- and revels in -- the full range of restaurants in the Bay Area, the formal and the quotidian, the cutting edge and the classic. Absolutely comfortable covering the high and the low.
  • Has a deep curiosity about all things food and drink, and brings this enthusiasm to our audiences.
  • Has a digital focus, and is an expert in developing, acquiring and maintaining a loyal readership in the Bay Area.
Criticism and writing output
  • Regular restaurant reviews. Each review and story should be an event: smart, insightful, with a clear POV and surprising writing. Each story informs and entertains. Each piece should strive to spark conversation.
  • In addition to a fully-fledged weekly review, the Critic will also produce smaller pieces throughout the week, as appropriate, perhaps including but not limited to secondary reviews/updates, opinion pieces, and/or a regular newsletter.
  • Regular (8-12 a year) deep-dive feature stories, essays or projects.
  • With the F&W Editor, conceive of and execute broader dining franchises, including a reimagining of Top 100 and other restaurant guides.
  • A skilled, exciting writer who is confident in language and argument.
The right candidate will show:
  • Ability to develop an audience and keep it engaged with a witty perspective, along with reader-friendly reviews and commentary surrounding the dining scene.
  • Writing that is perceptive and entertaining, with a distinct point of view.
  • Coverage and appreciation of a wide range of dining, with a desire to seek out places to celebrate or, conversely, call out overhyped trends/restaurants.
  • A robust social media following and knowledge of the Bay Area dining scene.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of journalism ethics and adherence to the highest standards of professional conduct.
  • Ability to work with editors to reframe and communicate a new perspective and procedure for reviewing restaurants, including perhaps new metrics and ways of assessing quality.
  • Experimentation within the review format.
  • Ability to make bold statements and lead the conversation about a new or existing restaurants that impact the local and national landscape.
  • Superb communication and collaboration skills. Although this is a senior position, it relies on the robust Chronicle Food team for success.
  • Experience and maturity dealing with sources, subjects, colleagues and trolls.
  • Ability to embrace and exceed digital performance expectations.
  • Knowledge of how to use metrics to maximize reach of the best stories.
  • Ability to complete work on deadline.



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