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17/08/2019 - 07:12

Food reviewers

"Visiting various places, sampling different dishes and taking beautiful shots," are what many people think of food reviewer (the cameramen and photographers who introduce and promote food). Simple as it may seem to pursue and maintain the job, food reviewers have to constantly train themselves and manage to foster harmony and engagement with the food and their readers.

Trung Hieu is an adept filmmaker, photographer, and writer. 

Creating charm for the food

As a senior-to-be of the Faculty of Electronics and Telecommunications (University of Sciences - Hue University), Nguyen Trung Hieu not only is an active student with the Student Union’s activities, but has also started his own business in reviewing dishes.

Food reviewer is a profession of tasting and feeling food; however, to Nguyen Trung Hieu, the job has its own distinctive characteristics. Hieu shared: “When I chose the job, I knew it was not merely visiting an eatery, trying good food, feeling, and promoting it to everyone. As a food reviewer, I could flexibly draft ideas, write scripts, take pictures, film videos, and design photos...”

A meticulous care for the dish – “the main character”

The videos and images should highlight the people who create the dish, as well as food arrangement and decoration. The chef’s master skills and the food’s freshness and greenness must be closely featured using techniques in camera shots and angles.

The way onions are diced, carrots sliced, and how the chef's hands cherish the ingredients should also be vividly described to stimulate diners and encourage them to try the eatery when watching the film. Also, each dish and restaurant owner have a unique style and appetite, so it is crucial that food reviewers cleverly integrate these distinctive characteristics into their products.

Food reviewer is significantly distinguished from food stylist, although the two jobs have the same "main characters": the dishes. Food stylist requires an aesthetic taste and high creativity to produce eye-catching photos of extremely fresh and delicious food.

Meanwhile, food reviewer may not create sophisticated food products but must incorporate related elements such as the chef, ingredients, a caption, and amusing images to create special effects for the end products. The reviewer himself is of vital influence as he creates the charm for the dish with insightful comments.

Not to put on weight

Tram, a 24-year-old food reviewer shared, “I got the chance to meet many friendly and enthusiastic people who did not only introduce me the food in detail, but also offered me free meal. The best part is to visit many places, enjoy local cuisines, and thus immerse in the diversity of our country’s culinary arts”.

Since starting the profession, Tram has become a "GPS locator" who plays the trustworthy consultant role when friends and relatives need somewhere to eat out and chill. Besides taking and editing photos to share her experience, the 9X young lady has found mutual understanding with everyone else. "Many people call food reviewer a profession to eat and criticize. This is absolutely true," Tram added.

Keen on technology and software since high school, Nguyen Trung Hieu had had the first short film product by the first year at university, from which Hieu gradually became more widely known. By the end of the second year, Trung Hieu had his first project to review a spicy noodle brand.

However, "the first step is always the hardest", Hieu admitted: "I am quite shocked because what I learned and accumulated over these so many years is truly very different from the harsh reality".

When it came to an emerging brand of bread, Nguyen Trung Hieu had to travel to Bac Ninh to work. On knowing the weather situation there, he carefully dressed in a sweater and an overcoat, but still shocked by the cold. Language barrier was another challenge to the young man as it was difficult for local people to understand Hieu's thick accent. He ended up having a hands-on demonstration of what everyone should do.

With that unforgettable trip, Hieu analyzed “It took me two exhausting days of work for only 4 minutes of video. Had things been more favorable, I would have needed only a quarter of that amount of time to complete the job. I think the way reviewers adapt to the working environment is also very important.”

Food reviewers are always wary of each dish’s calories to limit their weight gain. However, it’s hard not to put on any kilos when delicious food is available every day. Tram has gained 10kg since she started the job. Trung Hieu is, however, luckier and worry-free about his weight gain as he sticks to a rigorous exercise schedule.

Nguyen Trung Hieu has started to gather a group of young people with the same passion to start a business; each has a unique strength. All 7 members are students, and for each month on average, the group receives 5-7 projects for review. The proceeds will be divided by the proportion of contributions. As a perfectionist at work, Trung Hieu always set a clear goal when signing a review contract for food brands.

Story and photos: Mai Hue

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