Jason Sheehan is on the move again...

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Jason Sheehan.
...But no, he's not returning to Denver.

In early 2010, after almost eight years as Westword's Cafe critic (and six months after his memoir, Cooking Dirty, was published), Jason Sheehan moved to our partner paper in Seattle, the Seattle Weekly.

But now he sends us this update:


I swore for more than a decade that I would never go back east again, never cross the Mississippi River for anything but business -- and even then only briefly. But after a year of crushing sandwich withdrawal and with my Armageddon stockpile of scrapple, Tastykakes and Genny Cream Ale running dangerously low, I decided that it was time to relocate. And since Philadelphia Magazine was kind enough to agree to underwrite my salami and sweetbreads addiction in trade for me saying bad words in their august publication, that's where I'll be headed. The truck from the Genesee Brewery will be meeting me there.

Sheehan will be leaving Seattle next month -- he'll be replaced by Hanna Raskin, currently the restaurant reviewer at the Dallas Observer, another partner paper -- and resurfacing in Philadelphia soon after. Here's the word from the the editor of the Philly mag.


For a couple of months now -- ever since the very smart, very funny, very talented Kirsten Henri announced she was stepping aside as the magazine's food editor -- we've been searching for someone to take over our food coverage both in the magazine and here at Foobooz. Someone who understands food; who's as passionate about restaurants as you, our readers, are; and who might be able to give us a fresh perspective on Philadelphia's ever-growing, ever-more-exciting food scene.

I'm happy to announce we've found our editor: he's James Beard Award-winning journalist Jason Sheehan.

A toast -- and a real Philly cheesesteak -- to all of them.

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12 comments
maxplanck0
maxplanck0

From a potential job interviewer's standpoint, one look a his resume would reveal that this guy doesn't stick around too much. Further investigation of his work would clearly indicate "why."

denedit
denedit

Good question, Denveater. Trans, please tell us how you *really* feel.

trans
trans

Jason Sheehan is and was absolutely reviled in Seattle. This is a fact. I'm sure the educated folks in Denver who could see through the bravado would agree. This was my warning to Philly:

Let me tell you what kind of “food writer” you are getting in one Jason Sheehan. This is a man has tried to parlay his limited time behind the line into a career of writing about food. He has taken the blueprint of one Anthony Bourdain and attempted to follow it to a T. This would not be so bad if Jason Sheehan had even half the palate or food knowledge of Mr. Bourdain. He does not. What Jason Sheehan does possess is the bravado and prose-heavy writing style which, to any educated reader, is meant to make up for Jason Sheehan’s lack of substance. Flowery descriptions of food alongside the occasional f-bomb and drug references does not make up for Jason Sheehan’s lack of knowledge and experience in foods and cultures not related to Denver, upstate NY, or drugs. Here are just a few examples that Jason Sheehan has written within the pages of The Seattle Weekly:

1. Comparing steam from a bowl of rice to “miniature Hiroshimas” just 5 days after the deadly quake and tsunamis in Japan (not to mention the ongoing nuclear disaster yet to be determined).2. Stating that one need only look for a Chinese cook in the kitchen to determine if a Chinese restaurant is good or not.3. Singing the praises of fast food joint Chipotle without even searching for real mexican food in Seattle.4. Stating the Soup Dumpling specialist and world famous Taiwanese restaurant Din Tai Fung is from Thailand.5. Singing the praises of the quality of beef used at a local burger joint who uses CAFO beef.6. Not recognizing the cut of beef used in a steak frites dish.7. Failure to recognize pho for the street food that it so obviously is.8. Praising of an italian joint that serves food no better than your local olive garden.9. Comparing xiao long bao to jiao tzi because they are both dumplings (akin to comparing spaghetti to pho because they are both noodles.)

The list can continue indefinitely, but the pattern that has emerged in Jason Sheehan’s 1 year in Seattle is clear. His bravado and drug references are merely meant to disguise his lack of food knowledge (also his need to mention IN EVERY ARTICLE that he used to cook on the line.) He will slam the places which are popular, and rave for the places which are not. An obvious attempt to provoke discussion and page views, but at the expense of having real educated discourse about food in the city.

In this day of blogging and twitter, real print media needs to have standards which elevate the conversation. Seattle has only 3-4 publications which are wide reaching and come with a reputation of respect for those within their pages. To give space to one as ill-educated as Jason Sheehan is doing a disservice to the city and its citizens. Major cosmopolitan cities such as Philly and Seattle deserve food journalists who are able to educate the public as to what good food is and where to find it. Great examples of these are Jonathan Gold, Jonathan Kauffman, Ruth Reichl, Alan Richman, Robert Sietsema, Patricia Wells, and RW Apple Jr. Seattle has wasted over a year of growth to let Jason Sheehan pollute its discussions with his hot air. Philly deserves better.

DenverScener
DenverScener

Sheehan is just like Philly...irrelevant and shitty. Perfect Match.

Rev_Ed
Rev_Ed

He was reviled; in fact fucking hated in Seattle. I'm sure his departure is being treated with celebration there. I felt bad for the guy. He is a terrific story teller, who writes from the heart. He never stood a chance in snobby Prozac city. If only he would have come back to Denver. He loves it here, and with no offense to Laura Shunk, she's a hack with nothing to say except that she's able to taste food.

davebarnes
davebarnes

Fuck Yeah!Lucky Philly.Provolone, not Whiz.

Denveater
Denveater

What's a "prose-heavy writing style"? All writing is prose unless it's poetry.

Mantonat
Mantonat

How do you call someone a hack with no offense intended? Own up and admit you meant to offend.

GFTW
GFTW

Got examples of how he was hated? People who speak their mind do better back east.

Yup-Yup
Yup-Yup

Looks like someone has a crush! Just saying-

davebarnes
davebarnes

Example01:"Who is the Jason guy below? i like this kid. He seems to understand what a fascist this Jason reviewer is all about. Bulls Eyes? What kind of talk is that is this time of crisis? This guy- Jason the restaurant "critic" will say anything to get people's attention like his tea bagger friends. Seattle was, at one time, a progressive city, but when fascist morons like this are writing for a magazine that is in in the mainstream. Oh - excuse me - a corporate rag owned by ahhhhh, Fox. There you go - Jason can go to Fox News and be their restaurant critic; they have a priest (is he?) and others. Lets hope that Jason can go to the big time - even that moron, libertarian Anthony would stoop that low. Eric "

Example02:"This review and reviewer is really poor. Hardly any talk of of the actual food in his reviews seems to be a trend. This guy just likes to here (or in this case see) his own voice, regardless of what it is actually saying."

Example03:"another faux-bourdain scribble from mr. douche. christ, you are a shitty writer and, in this case, an even worse critic"

Example04:"Jason Sheehan is the worst food writer ever!!!! I honestly have never read such a draining and horribly written review. I almost fell asleep before getting to the part about the actual food. The misleading title istantly turns away the reader and potential diner because it implies the food is abysmal, when it is in fact Jason Sheehan's writing that is horrific."

GFTW
GFTW

LOL, the PNW is such a liberal cesspool (you'd think somebody from WW would fit right in!). They're all like in that Southpark episode Smug Alert.

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