Convocation with Soleil Ho

25 February 2022

Soleil Ho, a self-described “writer on the fish sauce beat,” is the restaurant critic for the San Francisco Chronicle.  In that position, they instituted a number of changes—including informing their readers up front that they were not going to use “ethnic” or “authentic” in restaurant reviews, and publicly discussing the ethics of reviewing (or not) restaurants whose chefs or owners are implicated in abuse in the era of #MeToo.  Ho wears a lot of hats:  they are a food, culture, and travel writer, and they hosted two podcasts, the multiple award-nominated Racist Sandwich—which explores the intersection of race, restaurant culture, and food—and Popaganda.  They have written about assimilation food, their proto-feminist love for Sailor Moon, and the curious culinary legacy of Asian immigration in Mexico.  In addition to that, they are the co-writer of MEAL, a graphic novel on culinary mentorship, queer romance, and eating insects.  Ho is among a new wave of food critics pushing back against the assumption that readers of food criticism are white and upper middle-class or wealthy.  Everyone eats!