Last week, San Franciscan blog The Bold Italic posted what is perhaps the best review of Mission Chinese ever. The critic in the hot seat was a charming four year old named Desmond Appelgren. Without writing a single word, young Desmond managed to review five dishes recommended by the server using only his snap declarations (“There’s an egg inside! I really like it to bounce”) and his very expressive face (see above).
The little rascal, who could give two shits about the awards and critical plaudits heaped on Mission, impressed us not only with his adventurous eating habits, but also his no-nonsense assessments: The thrice-fried bacon, he tells us, “tastes like bacon,” offering a refreshing departure from flowery language that bogs down so much critical food writing.
While we were all quite smitten with lil’ Des, his brilliant piece of reportage reminded us that he’s not the only kid reviewer in the game—in fact, he’s not even the best. Here, we’ve put together our top six 12-and-under food critics, because judging children is awesome.
6. Young Gordon Ramsey
While the youth in question isn’t really a critic, this series of spoof videos of Gordon Ramsey as a child makes it onto the list because watching a tiny blond-haired thug swear at restaurant managers and disparage his mum’s cooking makes for top-class entertainment.
Props for: Flawless use of the world bollocks.
5. David Pines
Website: Pines Picks
The self-proclaimed “middle school foodie” has already published a book called Pines Picks: A Kid’s Guide to the Best Things to Eat and Drink in New York City. The tome is apparently the first ever NYC food guide written from a kid’s perspective. Not surprisingly, the biography section on his site seem to foreshadow that he will grow up to have pretentious and dickish qualities.
Writing sample: “David Pines is not a child appeased by a little salt, sugar and grease. This 12 year old is a genuine foodie who’s eaten at more New York City restaurants than most adults. He can discuss the spicy, sweet, crisp, tender or buttery attributes of foods from popovers to squid ink pasta.”
Props for: Writing a full book. Negative points for not being appeased by salt, sugar, and grease.
4. Max & Lucy Lowenstein
Ages: 5 and 8, respectively
This brother sister duo are the official kid food critics for Eater. The reviews are always handwritten in pencil on a sheet of paper, and the word waitress has yet to spelled correctly. All is forgiven, however, because each review comes dotted with some hand-drawn doodles of the grub, and the descriptors phenomal and fabulous tend to make their way onto the page often.
On Roberta’s parsley cake: “The cake didn’t taste like cake.”
Props for: Being adventurous eaters and writing reviews by hand.
3. Eli Knauer
Website: Adventures of a Koodie
This ambitious youngster has written more than 100 restaurant reviews with some pretty solid vocabulary. He judges restaurants not solely on the food, but also on the kid-friendliness—meaning he doesn’t fuck with places that only give him two Crayons.
Props for: Reviewing both gastronaut establishments, such as Bryan Voltaggio’s Family Meal, and everyman chains such as Texas Roadhouse. Also, for the awesomely awkward photos scattered throughout the site.
Website: Wyatt Tastes Good
This motivated food-loving 5th grader started his blog with “parental supervision” (which makes you wonder why they didn’t flag the pedo-baiting name, but we digress). His reviews, which take aim at both independent and chain restaurants, always include photos. Wyatt’s dietary preferences tend to center around typically kid-friendly eats such as pancakes, chicken tenders, and fries, with the occasional conch fritter thrown in.
Props for: Dressing up as Guy Fieri for Halloween and calling himself “Wy Fieri” (see below). Also, for balking the start rating system in favor of sporks.
1. Rasmus Dey Meyer
Website: The Gourmand Kid
Of all the child critics on the list, Rasmus tends to have the best quips. While he might not have as many posts as others on the list, each one delivers unrivaled quotability—a key to success in today’s hyperactive food-writing game. He’s reviewed everything from Pork Slope to a Korean BBQ joint.
On Prime Meats’ atmosphere: Rasmus drops an acrostic poem on us. Next level.
Props for: This response to a comment on this blog saying his site was a better use of his time than video games.
Words to live and die by.