Tuesday, 11 Dec 2018

San Francisco Chronicle Engages Soleil Ho as New Restaurant Critic and Editor-in-Chief for Racist Sandwich Podcast

The Italian themed Che Fico is one of the new stars of San Francisco's robust gastronomic scene. (Nick Otto for the Washington Post)

Sun Ho, an American writer and podcaster of Vietnamese descent who has leaned on issues such as cultural appropriation, culture and race of his brother, will be the next San restaurant critic Francisco Chronicle, the newspaper announced Wednesday.

He will replace Michael Bauer, a venerable but sometimes controversial critic of the Chronicle, who has retired after 32 years of work. Ho's editor-in-chief expects her to change not only the type of restaurants in the study but also the way they are evaluated.

Paolo Lucchesi, editor of the Chronicle for Lifestyle, which includes food coverage, said the editors of the newspaper "wanted to see how we could move the genre forward", which explains, in part, why they have chosen a writer who treats foods to culture, race and sex instead of someone already employed as a restaurant critic.

"We have had so many great candidates and I think she has this unprecedented combination. She is a great writer in herself, "Lucchesi said in a telephone interview with The Post. "She is already a cultural critic. She has already changed culinary journalism in many ways in the United States, and I can not wait to see how it will continue. "

Ho is expected to start in mid-January. She brings a great experience to work despite her relative youth. At 31, she is a chef and has worked in restaurants in New Orleans and South Minneapolis. freelance writer for various publications (including Bitch Media, New Yorker and GQ); co-author of "Meal", a "graphic novel about culinary mentoring, queer romance and eating insects"; and co-host of the influential podcast "Racist Sandwich". In the latter role, Ho spent quite a bit of time in San Francisco, exploring his scene of various and legendary restaurants.

Illustration of Sun Ho by Wendy Xu.

"It looks like a really polarized scene, which I really want to deepen. There are [restaurants] this Michelin organization would notice and reward the stars. Then there are those that many people who have money would simply not want to go, "Ho told the Washington Post.

"Then there is the whole problem of the disparity of wealth and how it manifests itself in the world of restoration. Where will dishwashers eat as opposed to technicians? There are places that serve all these categories of people, but only one of these categories is actually noticed by food critics. I hope to expand this reach a bit, "she added.

Born in Chicago, Ho grew up in New York and lived in Iowa, New Orleans, Portland and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. She now lives in Minneapolis, which she plans to leave after the holidays. When she will take up her position as a critic at The Chronicle, Ho does not plan to wig or disguise herself to review the restaurants, but she intends to respect the Codes and Ethics of the Association of Food Journalists.

At the same time, Ho said that anonymity traditionally favored high-budget restaurants over popular ones. Keeping your photos on the Internet will then tend to standardize the rules of the game for all institutions.

"It's interesting because I'm millennial and it's a little too late for any notion of anonymity," she said with a laugh. "You'd expect high-end restaurants or those run by a chef to have photos of reviews already on the fridge, but the average restaurant where they do not have a huge budget for public relations, do not do not watch this kind of thing, they can just as easily find me on Google as soon as they hear about it, they do not need to investigate too much. "

Ho plans to use his platform at the Chronicle to examine restaurants from different angles. She wants to "use a restaurant review to talk about urban development, race, wealth disparities and housing crisis, etc.," she said. "I do not plan to be very didactic about it, but there are ways to write a restaurant review with a recognition that these issues are important."

But will his new job mean the end of "Racist Sandwich"?

"We're not sure yet," said Ho. "I'm talking to the crew right now, so let's figure out where we want to go. I do not know. To be determined. "

Last month, the Los Angeles Times announced it has hired two critics to replace Jonathan Gold, the legendary critic who died last July of the Pulitzer Prize, who died of pancreatic cancer. The Times chose Bill Addison, a former national critic for Eater, and Patricia Escárcega, a former food critic for Phoenix New Times, to cover the vast restaurant scene in southern California. The paper also invited Peter Meehan, co-founder of Lucky Peach magazine, who is now missing, to participate in the management of the food section, and Lucas Peterson, author of the New York Times column Frugal Traveler, for animate a video about food. series.

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