Restaurant critic

Did you hear about the foodie contest in Richmond, BC?

Tourism Richmond recently posted a job opening for food blogger.

The winning applicant is awarded the prestigious position of ‘Richmond’s Foodie Blogger’. They’ll get to eat out at a different restaurant every day for a year, $50,000 in salary, a daily restaurant stipend, free rent in Richmond (they don’t want you drunk-driving into ditches on your way home to Vancouver every night), and a free gym membership to burn off all that ice wine and sweet and sour sauce (Richmond has tons of Chinese restaurants).

Sound like a dream job? Yep, for a lot of people. When the posting closed on March 31st, Tourism Richmond had received 1,500 applications from around the world.

“We know we have some of the best Asian cuisine on the globe and this is the ideal time to showcase it – all of it,” said Tourism Richmond CEO Tracy Lakeman. “Our ideal Richmond Foodie Blogger will be a great communicator, social media savvy, and most importantly, be open-minded and willing to try new things.”

By the way: Richmond is a suburb of Vancouver and was the site of speed-skating events during the 2010 Olympic Games. Population: 198,858, most of whom are currently in shopping malls.

People eating

Mmmm, food. Photo: Tourism Richmond

I know a dozen people who would kill to have this job. As for me, I’m totally steering clear.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that ‘foodie blogger’ is a gig from Hell.

Here’s why:

  • They don’t want you leaving the suburb of Richmond. At all. Now, I’m sure that Richmond is a fine suburb to visit. But when someone says you can’t leave a community, that’s not a dream job. It means you live in a prison or a halfway house for degenerates.
  • You have to write about food every day. And 99 percent of the time, writing about food — and reading about it — is painfully dull. Think about it: when was the last time you read a restaurant review that made you think, “Wow, this review is so original, so riveting, such a thrilling page-turner, it should win a trophy.”
  • That’s because food writers (and travel writers) constantly overuse clichéd words and phrases like: mouth-watering, nosh, smeared, drizzled, delectable, eatery, decadent, gorgeous, fabulous, foodgasm, elegant, ethereal, seared to perfection, revelatory, scrumptious, fresh, infused, moist, ‘save room for’, and ‘a party in your mouth’. If I had to write about food like this every day, for an entire year, I’d carry a cyanide pill in my shirt collar for when the self-loathing finally consumed me.
  • You’re not just writing about food…you’re an ambassador for Richmond’s 800+ restaurants. TRANSLATION: they expect you to write positive things about every joint you eat at for 365 days in a row. That’s an incredibly hard task. Think of the last 365 restaurants you ate at. Were they all positive experiences?
  • Late-night eating leads to nightmares.
  • This isn’t just a hard job, it’s a stressful one, too. The stakes are incredibly high. As points out, “Your bad review can ruin some family’s business — and they know where to find you.” They cite the story of a food critic in Boston. After she wrote a bad review of a south Boston restaurant, the restaurant’s owner threatened the critic’s editor with a gun.
  • It’s hard to write about food when your stomach is full. Don’t believe me? Think of pornography. After you’re satisfied and your ‘meal’ is finished, who wants to look at (or write about) more naked people?
  • Not only were there 1,500 applicants, some of the competition is ridiculously unfair. Take this guy, for example. His name is Dave Cashen, he’s already a food blogger, but what’s worse, he has an incredible backstory. You see, Dave might be the only food critic in the world WHO DOESN’T HAVE A STOMACH. Two years ago, Dave lost his guts to cancer. And how he reviews food. Which pretty much requires him to put things in the place where his stomach used to be.

How am I supposed to compete with that?

Forget it. I’m out. Good luck to the 1,500 applicants, but y’all can all fight for the grub because I don’t want any part of it.

And besides … my talented & superfine girlfriend already applied for the Richmond foodie blogger position. So if/when she gets her dream job, I’ll simply ride on her coattails and scarf down all her leftovers.

— Ken Hegan

BING: how to write a restaurant review

For more info on Tourism Richmond, visit their website

Read all of Ken’s MSN travel posts here and follow Ken to victory on Twitter