Restaurant Reviewing: Not Always Fun

Ff7ec51df4bdbfade71e7c16aa183855?s=47 Sahil Khan
February 25, 2012

Restaurant Reviewing: Not Always Fun

I used this as a backdrop for my 20mins session at Barcamp Mumbai 8 on 19th February, 2012.

1. At #BCM7, I had used an old presentation, so this time I specifically added ‘barcamp mumbai 8’ to ensure that everyone is aware of this being a freshly prepared deck.
2. Everyone with a bunch of blog posts on some dinner experience thinks he/she is a food reviewer. Unless the following points take place, it's not true.
3. It's assumed that this ‘career’ is fun.
4. Just the like the song (Friday – Rebecca Black), it's not really always fun.
5. The reason there's no background image is that my parents really don't think much of food/restaurant reviewing. On an another note, my mom is rather wary of talking to me about food. She whipped up an ‘instant’ haleem (which takes hours of stirring on a slow flame) the other day and she insisted on calling it that. I had to give her a stern look and say “Never ever serve me an instant version of a dish. Call it anything but instant.” Yes, she has a recipe for an instant dosa as well.
6. My best friend thinks he can join me for a free dinner. At times, when without company for a review, I have taken a friend along, but please don't say “I can come click photos of the food for you.” (This was shot at Stone Water Grill, Pune during a Four Seasons cooking-with-wine session.)
7. I'll actually give you my colleague's story here: Her for-obvious-reasons-now-ex told her once “It's just like a dinner date. Not like you can't answer my call.” No, it's not a dinner date. It's work. We spend time tasting each dish, talking to the chef, clicking pictures, etc.
8. Just because I review restaurants doesn't mean I should have all the menus by-heart. And going through menus and ordering is part of my job. I don't want to do anything that reminds me of my job while I'm out for some ‘fun’ with friends. So, don't ask me to order for everyone.
9. I would like to think of myself as the stern and snobbish food critic in the film Ratatouille. Or, like the chef rat who would have an orgasm with fireworks in the background the moment he placed something spectacularly good on his taste buds.
10. What I actually do is eat, be it good or bad. At a fine dining, at a hand push cart. Just eat and eat. Fortunately, I'm blessed with a high metabolism, but my colleague has complained to me about having gained weight. Seems like I'll have to get her a gym subscription.
11. I don't make money yet. Just spend money eating at various places and footing “table for two” bills.
12. Everything that good you eat is not just awesome or spectacular. Even food has texture, smell, taste, flavour, etc. Some dishes are delicate, some powerful. And so on. Get yourself a food dictionary otherwise.
13. Time for what happens when we give a negative review.
14. We eat out so many times a week, we could possibly get an upset tummy.
15. Meeting deadlines when you're in bed sick, that's a bitch.
16. Have been threatened to be sued if I don't take down a negative review. (Nothing happened eventually. Phew.)
17. As a food writer, you're expected to know what a pastry chef is. Stop getting excited about a restaurant having a “special chef just for desserts” in mainstream media. Also, print publications have weird guidelines for their food writers. I was given a budget of Rs 500 per review when I started writing for a local daily in Pune. A dish at a fairly decent restaurant costs close to that much these days!
18. And of course, I'm reachable on Twitter at @sahilk and do read my reviews on Cheers!


Sahil Khan

February 25, 2012