They’re heeeeere …
A few months ago I announced on this blog that The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was looking for local writers and bloggers to help me cover dining throughout this sprawling North Georgia population center we like to call greater Atlanta. I’m now thrilled to report we’ve retained the services of three outstanding contributors from the scores who applied.
Before we meet them, let me tell you about some key changes in the way we cover restaurants, in both print and online.
My primary review will continue to run in Friday’s Go Guide section of the newspaper and post online the same morning on the Food and More blog. You are welcome to join the blog’s increasingly lively dialogue with other readers and post your comments on the review. If you think I’m right on target — or way off base — let me know. Every Friday I will also post Behind the Review — an online-only extra that delves a bit deeper into some aspect of the review.
Our weekly Neighborhood Nosh will bite the dust. This Go Guide feature was based on one visit and was intended to be a quick introduction to a neighborhood restaurant and not a critical assessment. It seemed the right kind of article to run five years ago when people got most of their information on new restaurants from reading the paper. Today, many readers are already aware of these restaurants from online coverage and would rather have more researched opinion. Is this restaurant worth the money? That’s part of what we’re here to answer.
So, in place of Neighborhood Nosh, we will run a second full restaurant review based on at least two visits. These reviews, written by our new team of contributors, will be as critical and informative as the main review. We’ve chosen three writers who recognize good food but won’t hesitate to warn you when a restaurant doesn’t meet expectations. With each review, we’ll include a listing of similar restaurants throughout the metro area that we recommend.
As with the main review, these secondary reviews will post every Friday on the blog, and we encourage your comments at blogs.ajc.com/food-and-more.
We selected three writers who can not only write entertaining and informative reviews, but also keep things lively on the Food and More blog throughout the week with their contributions on dining, cooking, drinking and shopping for food.
They will also make The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and ajc.com and accessAtlanta.com the go-to place for restaurant news.
Gene, Jenny and Jon will introduce themselves this week on the Food and More blog. Their reviews will start alternating every Friday in the Go Guide and on our Food and More blog. I’m thrilled to have them on board — so thrilled I may celebrate by staying home and having a salad tonight.
– Suzanne Van Atten contributed to this column.
John Kessler, main reviewer (All cuisines)
John is once again The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s chief dining critic, a job he held from 1997 to 2005. In the interim he worked as a food columnist, a features writer and a profile writer for the newspaper. The recipient of a passel of writing awards, Kessler graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts with a degree in the history of ideas as well as L’Academie de Cuisine culinary school near Washington. He has taught English in the Kansai region of Japan and cooked in restaurants in Washington and Denver. He lives in Decatur with his wife, three daughters and far too many house pets.
He really likes sushi, eggplant, tangerines, yogurt, crusty bread, pate and grilling unruly hunks of meat on his Big Green Egg. He doesn’t much care for macaroni salad, canned corn, cheesecake, soft dinner rolls, meatloaf or decorative baking projects that involve blue icing.
Gene Lee (International dining)
Gene Lee writes the blog Eat, Drink, Man… A Food Journal that is considered the go-to place online for foodies seeking advice on international dining in metro Atlanta and preparing it at home. He’s an expert in Asian cuisines, especially that of his Korean heritage, but he is also knowledgeable about Latin American food. He is a very precise, informative writer and a strong photographer.
Jenny Turknett (Southern and neighborhood fare)
Jenny Turknett is a former teacher who’s now a stay-at-home mom. She knows the northern suburbs like nobody’s business. She is also a former caterer and self-avowed foodie with a smart, bright writing style. She operates the blog Going Low Carb, but is an omnivore who has strong, well-supported opinions on the dining experience.
Jon Watson (Popular eats)
Jon Watson is a passionate chowhound, and it shows in his restaurant review blog Live To Feast. He makes it a point to hit the big-buzz, high-end restaurants, but he’s a classic guy’s guy with a strong appetite for burgers, pizza, wings and other forms of pub grub. And he writes about it with great energy and enthusiasm.
THE WEEKLY LINEUP
What you can expect each week from our expanded dining coverage, both in print in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and online on ajc.com:
Online, on this blog
Look for frequent postings from the dining team — great food finds, discussion topics, breaking news — as well as specific fare.