Frank Bruni’s gig at the Times is coming to an end in about three weeks. That means that his replacement has likely already been chosen–Bruni writes in his memoir that each critic is given several weeks of preparatory time, basically to fly all over the world and eat in the best restaurants.
So it’s got to be someone who could conceivably be doing that right now, which puts two Eater guesses, Jennifer Steinhauer and Rachel Donadio, out of the running, as they’re still filing from L.A. and Rome, respectively. The Feed Bag started a rumor that William Grimes might come back as interim critic, but he’s got a book to promote, he’s recognizable, and he doesn’t seem to want to do it anyway.
Two other Eater guesses, Moira Hodgson, former critic for the Observer, and Christine Muhlke, food editor of T Magazine, seem as likely as any. New York magazine’s Adam Platt doesn’t seem like a good fit, plus, why would he want to leave that cushy job?
S. Irene Virbila? She’s been ensconced at the L.A. Times for years, and may not want to start all over again. Tom Sietsema seems a long shot, too. Peter Meehan would be awesome, but he’s co-writing David Chang’s book, and therefore could never review a Chang restaurant, a handicap.
We’re stumped, but if we had to guess, we’d go with Ryan Sutton, Julia Moskin, or Christine Muhlke. Dream: Jeffrey Steingarten or Alan Richman, but they’re both uber-recognizable. And it’s just as likely to be someone that none of us have thought of, like Bruni was.