New Cafe critic Gretchen Kurtz dishes up a few words on her philosophy

A presidential honeymoon lasts about 100 days. Having devoured well wishes and advice from Kyle Wagner, Laura Shunk, John Kessler and Jason Sheehan, I'm bracing myself for a honeymoon about 99 days shorter than that. I'm sure donning a thick skin will be hard -- possibly as hard as not shouting "Don't you know who I am?" when a server puts a tray on my head -- but I've endured hard things before (natural childbirth and breaking my jaw on a mogul spring to mind). Feedback is part of the deal, though, and a good dialogue will benefit us all. As the clock ticks down until my first review hits and those comments start rolling in, let me share a few words about my philosophy:

See also: - Jason Sheehan: Don't take anyone's advice about anything - John Kessler warns our new critic about 7/Eleven hot dogs - Kyle Wagner serves up some advice for our new Cafe critic - Laura Shunk dishes out some tips for our new Cafe critic

1) I promise to say it like it is. Though I don't have an actual post-it on my computer, I learned the same rules as Wagner ("Is it true? Is it fair? Is it necessary?") when I started writing for a daily paper some twenty years ago. It's as important for restaurateurs as readers to trust me on this.

2) I am just like you. Well, maybe not just like Sheehan, who sang drunken karaoke at an Asian joint in Aurora, but when I eat out and write about it, I'm doing so as a regular person. Yes, I am a restaurant critic and I get paid to eat out. But I'm mostly someone who wants to share a meal with good friends, eating great food in equally great environments, being treated well and getting good value for my money. When this doesn't happen, I'll tell you. (See item #1.)

3) I will do my best to be anonymous, so that my experience will mirror yours as closely as possible. Full disclosure: wigs aren't my thing. Sorry.

4) And for those of you mourning Shunk's departure, the ones who found your brainwaves in-sync and her advice spot-on, I ask you to give me a chance. I have big shoes to fill, as anyone who's followed the previous critics' paths can attest, but I promise to do the best I can -- in my own voice, with my own observations, and fully cognizant that being a pet sitter is one of the best jobs in the world.

Watch for Gretchen Kurtz's first restaurant review -- on The Kitchen Denver -- to be posted here later today.


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Gretchen Kurtz has worked as a writer for 25 years; during that time she's stomped grapes in Napa, eaten b'stilla in Fez, and baked with Buddy Valastro, aka the Cake Boss. Her work has appeared in publications including Boulevard (Paris), Diversion, the New York Times and Westword. Our restaurant critic since 2012, she loves helping you decide where to eat and drink tonight.
Contact: Gretchen Kurtz