I'm just going to organize my thoughts a bit on how I want to do food reviews. I'm by no means a chef, nor am I a professional food blogger...nor am I a seasoned reviewer. Why am I doing this? Well, I'm pretty good at eating. I've been doing it my whole life. I definitely have opinions on what I like vs what I don't like. I thought that I could use this forum to share my thoughts on items I've tried at restaurants. These may be anything from fast food or even gas station food to high end establishments.
That being said, I'm not about to go into a place and order the whole menu. Therefore, I'm not going to give a rating to an establishment based on a single dish. I can give my thoughts and feelings on that one dish and some insight into my experience at the establishment at that one snapshot in time. By no means should it serve as a final judgement of a restaurant and the folks behind the food in the kitchen.
Food Review Rating Systems
5 Point Scale
I've thought a lot about how I want to rate a food item. There is the simple 5-star scale that works for many journalists, including youtubers Peter and Kitra of Ordinary Adventures. Their reviews aren't of restaurants, but of single menu items...and I love that. The 5 point spread doesn't really give a lot of information, though. Peter and Kitra usually end up with a lot of 5/5's if they love it, or ⅕'s if they don't. They occasionally add a half star, to give them a little more variety in their reviews.
10 Point Scale
This brings me to El Presidente Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports and his amazing pizza reviews. He is only rating a single type of food (with few exceptions): cheese pizza. His reviews are on a 10 point scale - one bite, everybody knows the rules. The 10 point scal is pretty simple. Dave breaks it down even further by scoring everything to the tenth of a point. Any round number score is actually labeled a "rookie score" by the Prez and decimal scores (9.2, 6.9, etc) are encouraged. I love this, but I'm not about to steal such an established review style from Dave.
20 Point Scale
I've been playing Dungeons and Dragons for a long time...table top games in general are a favorite of mine. These folks at Roll for Review (@rollforreview) have one of my favorite review systems that I've seen. Like all of the great games, it is d20 based! These folks, @halflinghannah @alexcorrao and @cardboardtruth, talk about tabletop games on Kickstarter and rate everything on a 20 point "d20" scale. For those of you out of the loop, a d20 is a 20-sided die, aka a icosahedron.
Ability Check Ratings
An ability check tests a character's or monster's innate talent and training in an effort to overcome a challenge. The GM calls for an ability check when a character or monster attempts an action that has a chance of failure. When the outcome is uncertain, the dice determine the results.
For every ability check, the GM decides which of the six abilities is relevant to the task at hand and the difficulty of the task, represented by a Difficulty Class. The more difficult a task, the higher its DC. The Typical Difficulty Classes table shows the most common DCs.
To make an ability check, roll a d20 and add the relevant ability modifier. As with other d20 rolls, apply bonuses and penalties, and compare the total to the DC. If the total equals or exceeds the DC, the ability check is a success--the creature overcomes the challenge at hand. Otherwise, it's a failure, which means the character or monster makes no progress toward the objective or makes progress combined with a setback determined by the GM.
This feels like a great base for a nerdy way to review food. It is an easy system that makes a lot of sense in my gamer mind. Anyone seeing the review can rationalize that the higher the number, the better the food. Modifying the definition above, a Food Review Check tests a restaurant's or chef's innate talent and training in an effort to feed me good food. Therefore, I'll call for a food review check when a chef or restaurant attempts an action that has a chance of failure (feeding me something).
The number I'm assigning to a food item is the variable...essentially the dice roll! A low "roll" isn't very good food...and a high "roll" is great food! I'm never going to give a raw score higher than a 20 (the highest number one can roll on a dice), but numbers CAN go higher with modifiers!
Beyond the whole numbers, I can give the scores a modifier...any kind of modifier that I want! This is where it gets fun For example, I may order a fish sandwich from a restaurant and it is really tasty (I'll give better information than that, of course), so I may rate it a 15. However, I learn that they make an effort to use sustainable fish, so I may decide to give the sandwich a +2 for a conservation bonus...and maybe the view from the table is overlooking a beautiful body of water, so there may be an additional +2 atmosphere bonus...bringing the total score of the sandwich experience to a 19.
Alternatively, I may order that same sandwich, find it to be very tastyand score a 15. I then discover that they are using endangered Chilean Sea Bass (why did I order that????)! Therefore, I'll give it a -2 Conservation penalty. The restaurant may only offer plastic danger chairs for me to sit in and enjoy my meal, so that may incur an additional -3 penalty. These modifiers will bring a 15 down to a 10!
I think you see how this works...
...and some notes about the different Deliciousness Classes
In the end, I think we have a fun, nerdy, somewhat complicated, but not overly complicated , unique method for reviewing food!
Thank you again to Roll For Review for the inspiration!
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