Critical Criteria

IMG_2924I intended to post this while you were more likely browsing looking for something to do, a link to click…But chances are, if I continue to wait, day after day, you won’t ever see this.

Oftentimes, people are infected by my passion for what I do, my absorption of all things culinary! And then the conversation seems to go south with the all to predictable, “What are you gonna do? Be a chef?” To which I usually respond, “Eh, maybe.” It’s not so much a distaste for the title or position of chef, but a frustration that that’s all they think of when they think culinary arts.. I have come to learn that as technology advances and interest in the culinary arts heightens, the possibilities grow limitless.

I often find that the easiest way to share my culinary vision is to return the question, “Do you know Anthony Bourdain? The guy from No Reservations?”

“Oh yeah! I think so.”

“Well, yeah. I want his job, I just don’t want to be him.”

Come on! How cool would it be to have a career like that, in which you get paid to write, travel, eat, and explore the cultures of the world and bluntly share your opinion, and call it work?! I believe Gail Simmons (food writer, Top Chef judge, and some other cool stuff.) used similar words to describe the life she longed for when forging her path, yet in conversation, her name doesn’t seem to convey the same message as Bourdain’s.

Sure, a food critic holds no weight except that given him or her by their following. It helps to know what you’re talking about, to understand the ins and out of a kitchen or dining room, or anything similar to it like a food cart and a sidewalk. A good food critic ought to be (generally) unbiased or at least be able to separate his bias from his verdict. Critique requires vocabulary- one that transcends, “It was good/bad. I did/didn’t like it.” Why was it good or bad? Why did you or didn’t you like it. It’s the critic’s job to give the audience the facts and let them decide for themselves. I food critic not only should have some idea of cooking but should be an experienced eater- duh!

One of my attractions to the life of a food critic is the task of artfully and objectively describing a dish, to be able to put a name to a flavor, texture or sensation, yet to simply tell it like it is. No disrespect to the sommeliers or the turophiles (cheese experts) but sometimes, I don’t taste the “grassy” or ___ notes in a cheese or wine and I don’t always believe the lay person relates to such. But maybe I’m just not there yet, or maybe amateurs have just given us a bad example.

But anyway, I’m configuring my taste buds and constructing my vocabulary. I’m progressively traveling the world by way of the navy and gauging the opinions of my peers on such apps as yelp, twitter, facebook…..wordpress. In weeks to come, I’ll share with you my anthropology of the flavor of Boston. Happy reading! Happy eating!

-Robert Flours

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Ebony says:

    I love the “Critical Criteria” post. It’s so important not to allow those around us to dictate or guide our future. Only we as individuals, and God know what our true heart’s desire and passion is. Stay focused and go get your spot in the industry, no matter where it may be. Always know that you have at least 10 supporters in your corner always who are rooting for you.

  2. Ebony, thank you for your love and support! Your words are true and always inspiring. Can’t wait to serve you.
    -Yours Truly

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