What you need to know before becoming a restaurant critic

Washingtonian magazine talked to five restaurant critics to find out what a reviewer new to the job needs to know. The veterans tell rookies:

* “Restaurateurs will be nice to you on the phone, then badmouth you when they hang up.” (Jeff Ruby, Chicago magazine)

* “You will gain 20 to 30 pounds. Even if you exercise four days a week. More if you don’t.” (Jonathan Kauffman, Tasting Table)

* “‘Mouthfeel’ is not a word. If any of you ever use the phrase ‘to die for’ in describing the chocolate lava cake (or any other food item) I will find you and punch you.” (Jason Sheehan, Philadelphia magazine)

* “Writing well about food and restaurants is harder than it looks. It is harder, for instance, than writing well about books.” (Todd Kliman, Washingtonian)

* 25 things to know before you become a restaurant critic (Washingtonian)

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