Soleil Ho: “The New Wave of Food Criticism”
Soleil Ho, a self-described “writer on the fish sauce beat,” is the restaurant critic for the San Francisco Chronicle. In that position, they have 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’re a food, culture, and travel writer as well as the host of podcasts Racist Sandwich, Popaganda, and Extra Spicy. They have written about assimilation food, the politics and practice of eating dogs, 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. Their work has appeared in the anthologies Women on Food and the 2019 and 2021 editions of The Best American Food Writing.
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!