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A 12-year-old Food Critic? Let’s Not Forget Our Own Zakary Waxman

Written By Administrator On November 17, 2008

A story in today’s New York Times told about a precocious 12-year-old who fancies himself a food critic. He’s 12? What took him so long?

Some of you may remember that a couple of years ago I wrote about Central Florida’s Zakary Waxman, who, when I introduced him in my Chow Hound column two years ago, was seven. Zakary’s grandfather Harvey Roth told me earlier today that Zakary is still interested in being a food critic, but soccer is drawing more of his attention these days. For those who didn’t read it two years ago, here’s the piece from the Chow Hound column.

Career counseling
The Hound often hears from people asking how they can get a job like his. Usually these are folks who are tired of working a regular 9-to-5 shift and decide they want an easier life. They figure restaurant critic might be cushier than a work-at-home job where you make money just stuffing envelopes.

But it’s rare that I hear about someone such as Zakary Waxman, whose desire to become a restaurant critic was brought to my attention by his grandfather, Heathrow resident Harvey Roth. Roth placed the call for his grandson because Zakary is 7 years old.

Roth says Zakary loves to go out to eat with his grandparents and refuses to enter an establishment until he knows what the review said. He already has skipped the stage of wanting to become a firefighter, and has pooh-poohed studying to be a pharmacist like his grandpa. It’s the glamorous life of a restaurant critic for Zakary or nothing.

He’s a lad after my own heart. I was a late bloomer — I’ve been doing this for nearly 19 years, which means I was, um, 11 when I started — and I bounced around among various careers before I discovered the wonderful world of criticism. I learned from my parents.

So to young Zakary I say study hard, learn the rules of grammar and be prepared to break them, eat a lot and never use your real name. Being a restaurant critic is a great life (please disregard the two previous restaurants mentioned in this column), and it can be a lucrative one, as well. Especially if you’re willing to stuff a few envelopes on the side.


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