Seattle Weekly food critic Hanna Raskin led a panel of alt-weekly scribes at the Association of Food Journalists' conference last week in Charleston. In addition, several alt-weekly food writers took home awards at the conference.
When the Times announced this week that it was moving food critic Frank Bruni to a new assignment writing for the Times Magazine, foodies immediately began speculating as to whom the paper would replace him with. The Associated Press says LA Weekly's Pulitzer-winning critic Jonathan Gold is one of the "obvious contenders," while Eater has him as a "dark horse," with 250-1 odds. Eater also pegs Village Voice critic Robert Sietsema an "underdog," giving him 1000-1 odds. Meanwhile, the Times staffer who will lead the search says she hasn't started thinking about who will be named for what the AP calls "what's widely considered the most important restaurant critic job in the country."
"It's actually rather easy to go unrecognized as a critic," says Robert Sietsema, who's been eating and writing for the Voice for 15 years. "Most critics want to be recognized since they love having restaurateurs kiss their ass and bring them free food. The Voice pays for what I eat, so I don't need any free food." The critic talks to Gothamist in advance of the Voice's first-ever Choice Eats tasting event tonight in New York, which features some of Sietsema's favorites. They also ask him about the response to his recent much-talked-about story on "how bogus" the popular TV show Iron Chef is. Sietsema says "the funniest responses came from crybaby Iron Chef judges ... it was like poking a hornet's nest, and I'd do it again in a second."