Friday, August 14, 2009

Vogue's Food Critic


I finished reading Jeffrey Steingarten's first book, a collection of essays entitled The Man Who Ate Everything, a few weeks ago. I had previously read several of the author's articles and ultimately picked up the book after being drawn to his sarcastic wit and back and forth banter with fellow judges on Iron Chef America. The book chronicles his incredible, and oftentimes outlandish, food related experiences after being named food critic for Vogue magazine. The book was originally published in 1997 and speaks to food trends that were unheard of at that time yet are popular today, twelve years later. In my opinion The Man Who Ate Everything was ahead of its time and could only have been written after relentless research and experimentation. I remember saying to my husband how rewarding it would be to work for someone with that kind of knowledge. After coming across this posting a short while later I was clued into what is required to join the world of a respected food critic:

Interviews have begun for the incredibly sought-after job of assistant to a top fashion magazine's food critic. The ideal candidate is equally skilled at library and Internet research, cooking and shopping, repairing Xerox machines, mise-en-place, keeping office and kitchen organized, writing clearly, doing errands, eating in a few fabulous restaurants, and possibly travelling. The ideal candidate is a total omnivore, or at least eager to become one. The ideal candidate does not, of course, exist. But the employer is looking for someone who comes close, is near the beginning of her or his professional career, and willing to give a two-year commitment. The assistant is paid by the hour as a freelancer, receiving, no benefits whatsoever, but some expenses and free food. Candidates will also be evaluated by their abilities in 1) cooking, 2) academics in general, 3) knowledge of food history and food science, 4) practical knowledge of food products, produce, and agriculture, and proficiency in at least one gastronomic foreign language (i.e. not Serbian or Estonian). So, in your cover letter, please list these five skills and write a sentence or two appraising yourself in all five. If you are especially accomplished in some other pursuit and would like to talk about it, please go right ahead. And last, let us know whether you are familiar with the columnists' books and articles. Applicants should fax their resumes and cover letters (E-mailed attachments are too risky.)

Archaic faxing requirement aside, Jeffrey Steingarten, if you're out there - I would gladly leave my law degree behind and sign my life away for 2 years...

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