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Who will be the next New York Times restaurant critic?

Posted by Devra First  September 13, 2011 04:22 PM

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Sam Sifton has been named national editor of The New York Times.

The next Times critic?

That means means the position of restaurant critic is open. Who should fill it?

A few thoughts:

Pete Wells. He's the Times dining editor and an award-winning food writer who was once a columnist at Food & Wine. He's been in his current job for about five years. He might be looking for a change.

Peter Meehan. Not likely, but we can dream. He co-wrote the Momofuku cookbook with David Chang, and ties to chefs will be what rules him out. Too bad. He's a fantastic writer.

Oliver Strand. Coffee obsessive, food writer, former cook, ne Oliver Schwaner-Albright.

Brett Anderson. Importing a critic from another city is an unlikely move. The Times tends to fill this position from within, and now more than ever an outside hire is unlikely. Still, the Times-Picayune's guy could be a contender. New Orleans is rich ground to write about, but he might welcome greater diversity.

Still in the outsider vein, Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl of Minnesota Monthly. A wicked writer, a New York native, well respected. The Times will at least give thought to naming a woman, as the position has been very manly in recent years. And Grumdahl's sensibility appeals to the younger readers the Times is looking to attract.

Jonathan Gould Gold. I doubt he'd come East, but it's fun to think about, just to imagine the foodie kvelling that would ensue.

Ruth Bourdain: Would be the most-read reviews ever. It's all about the clicks, people.

Right now my money's on Wells. Just as likely, Sifton's replacement will be someone we'd never guess -- someone who writes about classical music or transportation or New York politics. Whoever it is, one thing is for sure. The new critic is likely to have less anonymity than anyone who has ever occupied the post before.

About Dishing

What's cooking in the world of food.


Sheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.

Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.

Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.

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