This morning, New York Times “Food” editor Sam Sifton announced, in a tweet, that the paper of record now has a new critic. In a classic New Yorker move, though, the Times’ “Food” section is going to California for the first time — and so is its new critic, Tejal Rao. In a press release, Sifton elaborated that Rao will write about restaurants “both fancy and not” across the entire state. Her gig will begin in the fall, after she moves to Los Angeles.
This is a first for the Times, which has been publishing reviews from around the country by its critic Pete Wells as well as reviews of Australian restaurants by Besha Rodell. It’s also a return to criticism for Rao, who joined the Times as a reporter and columnist after stints as a critic for Bloomberg and The Village Voice. She won the James Beard Craig Claiborne Distinguished Restaurant Review Award at both outlets, first for the Voice in 2013 and then for Bloomberg in 2016. Congrats to Rao, a friend of Grub and an extremely talented, deserving writer.