Readers Want to Be Food Critics, Not Chefs

And certainly not sommeliers
Staff Writer

Surprise, surprise. We asked readers what their dream food job is, and the majority of people (48 percent) responded with "food critic." Because who doesn't want to get paid to eat?

Next on the list, 19 percent of respondents said they wanted to be a chef, while 16 percent want to be a restaurateur. Urban farmer received 11 percent of the votes, while sommelier received only 6 percent.

But of course, everyone wants to be a food critic; the enviable position at The Times gets you into the best places at the best times, all on your publications' dime (well, for the most part).

Yet Robert Sietsema over at the Village Voice shed some negative light on the position when Sam Sifton stepped down, emphasizing the 40-plus hours a week spent just eating, seven days a week. With all the food, the 1,100 words per week, and the tweeting, answering reader questions, working with editors and fact checkers, and traveling, Sietsema wrote that the amount of a work a critic has to do is "flabbergasting."

"You can easily see why someone could burn out in two years, and come to the conclusion that all the glamor and good food has to be weighed against a monomaniacal existence in which you don't have time for family or friends, and life is just one giant Vegas-style buffet," he wrote.

As for all you wannabe chefs out there, The Daily Meal Recipe Editor Will Budiaman sheds some light on what it's really like in the kitchen.

He advises budding chefs to get used to "the heat of the kitchen on a sweltering summer day; the sheer physical nature of carrying heavy pots filled with gallons of hot soup, used cooking oil, or boiling hot water; taking things in and out of ovens using only flimsy side towels (no floral-printed oven mittens here); cutting or burning yourself on a regular basis; the power of the professional stove (low heat feels like maximum on a lousy home stove); and simply standing all day."

The Daily Byte is a regular column dedicated to covering interesting food news and trends across the country. Click here for previous columns.

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