After 48 years, London’s leading newspaper, the Evening Standard has announced that it will replace its restaurant critic Fay Maschler. The Evening Standard Magazine’s Jimi Famurewa will replace Maschler in the new year. The longstanding critic, who won a competition to author a restaurant review for the paper in 1972, will write regularly for the “Wednesday Reveller pages,” the paper’s editor Emily Sheffield said today. Maschler will also join Conde Nast title Tatler as restaurant critic.
Famurewa said the appointment was “the honour of a lifetime.” Maschler, who will publish a memoir of the nearly five decades in the job tomorrow, said the paper “has been my work family, a notably congenial one, for nearly five decades. It will be a wrench to stop reviewing restaurants, especially in this perilous time for hospitality...”
“Fay Maschler leaves figuratively enormous shoes to fill,” Famurewa said. “But I hope to continue the boundless curiosity, rigour and insatiable passion for the job that she has set in place. The role fills me with immense, dream-job happiness. And, as the London-born child of Nigerian immigrants, I’m acutely aware of what it will mean for those like me to see one of their own taking up such an illustrious and iconic role.”
“Perhaps, as London’s hospitality industry emerges from a devastating year — and the notion of what makes a great restaurant evolves before our eyes — [I can] push even further to reflect the broad span of resilience, creativity and joyful unexpectedness that still makes this the most exciting (and occasionally ridiculous) dining city in the world. I’m hungry for all of it. And I can’t wait to get started.”
Famurewa was appointed Evening Standard Magazine in August 2018, then replacing Grace Dent, who moved to the Guardian, and becoming the first black restaurant critic on staff at any national newspaper in the U.K., ever. Today’s announcement marks the biggest reshuffle since the frenetic restaurant critic transfer season of 2017-18, prompted by the death of The Sunday Times critic AA Gill. He was replaced by the then-Guardian critic Marina O’Loughlin, who created the vacancy filled by Dent.
On joining Tatler as restaurant critic, Maschler said: “After a long (48 years) rewarding apprenticeship as restaurant reviewer for the Evening Standard, I am thrilled to be joining Tatler. Going glossy is good.”
The Evening Standard says that Famurewa’s first review will be published in the newspaper on 13 January 2021.
More reaction soon.