Omnivore - Besha Rodell starts work at LA Weekly

Our former dining critic hits the streets of LA

Image Besha Rodell has landed.

Our former dining critic, food editor and online-content editor has published an introductory column and her first review in LA Weekly, her new employer.

A sample of the introductory column that I found especially interesting:

Being a restaurant critic is one of the most bizarre jobs on the planet, and my perception of the role of a critic has changed a lot since I began. I think most people want to be a critic because they have a lot of opinions about the places they eat - that was certainly why I wanted to do it. I felt that working in restaurants had given me special insight into why things did or didn’t work. I obsessed about points of service the same way I had when I was a restaurant manager. My opinions hinged on things like whether plates were all cleared at once or whether the check was dropped when I was still halfway through dessert.

Of course, those things matter. But for the most part, they’re painfully boring to read about. Over the years, I’ve come to care more about the context of a restaurant, what it means for a city, what it means for a neighborhood. I want people to read my reviews and know whether they’ll love the place, regardless of whether I love it or not. I’m interested in what a restaurant is trying to achieve and whether it is achieving that thing, rather than holding everything up to one rigid standard. Food can and should be viewed as art, but it’s also pop culture and anthropology and politics and love.

LA is my favorite city in America and it will be fun to watch it reveal itself to Besha’s eyes.