Longtime Dallas Morning News food critic Leslie Brenner announced her departure to developer Rebees nearly a year ago, and since then, Mark Vamos has been filling in as interim critic. Now, the DMN has a new critic: Michalene Busico, a longtime friend and former colleague of Brenner.
“I’ve been a journalist for most of my life and have spent most of my career in the food world,” Busico said in the story announcing her hire. According to the DMN, the Southern California native served as food editor "for publications such as as The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and Robb Report." Since 2008, she's been working "as a writer and consultant for magazines, websites and newspapers."
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"I took the last couple of years to travel and write while continuing to be the Academy Chair representing the Western United States and Canada for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards," Busico said in a column introducing herself. Now, she's moved to Dallas and starts her new gig sometime soon — mid-July, according to the DMN. This is her first role as critic.
"Obviously, I’m 'out,' as they say: Despite advantages to anonymity, it’s not the best way to do the job anymore, mainly because it limits the engagement that critics can have with their readers," Busio wrote in her intro column. "But I will make restaurant visits without advance notice and will avoid any special treatment, always with the aim of experiencing the restaurant in the truest way possible."
Busico says she plans to "reshape the star rating system, so we can recognize less formal restaurants in a stronger way," and that because of her relationship with Brenner, she won't be reviewing any restaurants owned or operated by Rebees, where Brenner is employed.