It’s been a big week of local food media shakeups, with the news of longtime critic Patricia Unterman’s dismissal at the Examiner (she’s being replaced by East Bay Express critic Jesse Hirsch), followed by news that Marcia Gagliardi of Tablehopper fame would be the new contributing food editor at 7x7. Now today comes the big news that Jonathan Kauffman is leaving his post of two years as critic for SF Weekly, moving on to edit daily food newsletter Tasting Table — a position most recently held by Jessica Battilana, who is being promoted to a new role at the company. Kauffman has been an anonymous critic for the last thirteen years, first for the East Bay Express and then at Seattle Weekly, where he garnered some national awards.
In SF Weekly’s announcement, which includes an immediate call for resumes to fill the position, Kauffman says, “I’m excited that I get to continue eating my way around San Francisco — just in a different role.” That role will include finding interesting new dishes and tastes for Tasting Table’s local newsletter, and describing them in his signature, casual, modern-essayist’s style. As the Weekly’s Alan Scherstuhl gushes, “With just a couple words, Kauffman can make your brain taste.”
Kauffman tells the Scoop in a lengthy series of emails that he “did everything I wanted to do with [with the critic’s job], both personally and creatively” and that he was impressed with how “the newsletter is run like a magazine. There’s a review budget, a test kitchen in New York, and copy editors and fact checkers on staff. Fact checkers! The word makes an alt-weekly journo’s heart swell.”
It shall be interesting as this alt-weekly critic’s job comes up for grabs again. Various food-media folk in less desirable parts of the country are undoubtedly polishing their resumes as we speak.