After what sounds like one hell of a road trip, new Seattle Weekly restaurant critic Hanna Raskin has landed here and is off and running...and eating. Raskin's introductory post hit the Weekly's Voracious blog this morning. Raskin, who arrived in town last Friday, says "it's far too soon for me to be making grand pronouncements about what Seattle is or isn't." However she's already managed to eat at Canlis (while wearing a very inexpensive coat), which isn't a bad start.
At her previous gig at Seattle Weekly's sister pub, the Dallas Observer, Raskin was perhaps best known for writing a lengthy missive after just six months on the job, proclaiming "the Dallas dining scene is broken." The headline: "Homesick Restaurants: How Dallas Became a Dining Nowhereville." Ouch. Outside of Dallas she is known, thanks in large part to the Eater National mothership, for wearing a name tag to a chef-heavy fundraising event. She's also part of a new guard of critics who are, by choice or otherwise, highly un-anonymous.
Raskin replaces the controversial Jason Sheehan, who spent slightly more than a year in the critic's seat before some family issues sent him to Philadelphia, where he is now food editor at Philadelphia Magazine. Raskin's post hadn't even been up an hour before the Sheehan ire started percolating in the comments.
As one comment poster noted, "paid food writing positions in widely circulated print media are few and far between." And now that the Seattle Times has throttled way back on its food coverage and straight-up critic reviews of restaurants, Seattle Weekly is pretty much the only game in town that has regular reviews and an immediacy not possible in a monthly magazine. In a city that purports to be a player in the national food scene, this is utterly ridiculous. We're guessing there are plenty of dining fans in the city excited that this position will no longer be squandered on Sheehan's rambling accounts of his own glory days, loosely wrapped around an actual restaurant review. Some people might never get over the fact that he bestowed a formal review on Chipotle. And Taco Time.
From what we've seen, Raskin doesn't shy away from controversy--her methods just involve fewer stories about youthful substance abuse . Plus she's an avid bicyclist, meaning she should do quite well in Seattle. So welcome, Hanna, we can't wait to see/read you in action.
· Hi, I'm Hanna Raskin and I'll Be Your Food Critic [Seattle Weekly]
· Homesick Restaurants: How Dallas Became a Dining Nowhereville [Dallas Observer]
· All Previous Hanna Raskin Coverage on Eater [~EN~]