Can you imagine? "Dammit. I have to go out and eat at a restaurant again; then, I need to give my totally subjective opinion about the food. Oh, and The Stranger pays for the entire meal. AND I get to take a friend. And did I mention that I get paid?" It's absurd, really.
My friends won't have it. My most frequent Chow partner, for instance, deals with demanding clients and million-dollar accounts in a corporate office down in Renton, with a typical workday starting at 7:30 a.m. She has a more grown-up job now than I will probably ever have in my lifetime. (Like, it is necessary for her to wear shoes at work; and it is totally unacceptable for her to organize an impromptu breakfast-pastry-eating contest during a staff meeting.) If at any point I start to pull out my violin in her presence--and talk about being tired, or stressed out, or overwhelmed, or, God forbid, not hungry--I get The Look. Which is then followed by some variation of "Cry me a river. You get to eat for a living. Shut up."
Fair enough. She's right. I've worked at this glorified tabloid for four years now--I've been the managing editor for a little over two years, and I've been writing this paper's food column on a weekly basis since January 2001--and the food-writing duties have by far been my favorite part of the job. And every time I'm tempted to openly kvetch about deadlines, writer's block, word counts, pushy restaurateurs, pushy editors, boring menus, media events, or whatever, I realize how completely ridiculous I'm going to sound.
Which brings me to the point of this rant: My job is fun. You should try doing it. Seriously. Because I am moving back to New York City at the end of the summer and my job--the Chow part of it anyway--needs to be filled. So do you love to eat? Do you geek out and read food magazines and plan your next meal as you're eating the one in front of you? And, most importantly, can you write?
You can? Okay, prove it: Write up a Seattle restaurant--it can be any place, cheap or fancy, as long as it's in Seattle--and send it to me ASAP. Write about what you ate, and how it was prepared. If I like your trial review, I will take you out to dinner. Then you can write up the meal we had together, and we'll run your review in the paper. You'll get paid to eat, you'll get at least one review published, and the jokers who run this paper promise me they'll hire one of the guest critics to be The Stranger's new food writer.
You don't have to be a total gourmand or professional chef to take a shot at getting my job--just be articulate, detail-oriented, and obsessed with food. We all gotta eat, right? Why not get paid for it?
Submissions should not exceed 725 words in length. Please e-mail to email@example.com, or send to 1535 11th Ave, third floor, Seattle, WA 98122 (attn. Chow Search). Absolutely no phone calls, please.