Jimi Famurewa is the new, permanent restaurant critic at the Evening Standard.
I thought that was Grace Dent?
Get with the programme: Grace Dent left at the end of last year to move on to The Guardian, and has since been replaced with a rotating roster of guest reviewers from all walks of life: Professor Green; June Sarpong; Jessie Ware; and Robert Peston. Famurewa has contributed two reviews to the magazine since Dent’s departure, for Inko Nito and for Bancone.
What’s his background?
Famurewa is British-Nigerian, and grew up in London. He isn’t a food writer as such, but takes his interest in exploring cuisine from his Nigerian heritage, the culture of which made food “the thrumming heartbeat that underpinned everything we did” when he was growing up. He is the first ever black restaurant critic on staff at a UK national paper.
So what’s his journalistic career been like so far?
An expert in entertainment, tech and male interest stories, Famurewa’s work has been seen across Shortlist, the Guardian, Time Out, Empire and Q. He’s been nominated for a BSME Rising Stars award and his recent work includes varied topics, including interviews with Hollywood A-list actors and investigations into the benefits of Swedish paternal leave.
Swedish paternal leave?
Yes, Famurewa is a dad of two, which he says means he spends a lot of time “chasing a marinara-smeared 18-month-old around a sourdough pizza place.” He’s actually written a book for dads in similar situations: Family London, Fun Days Out with Children from Tots to Teens.
So we can expect a lot of Franco Manca reviews, then?
Unlikely- although in his teens Famurewa does say he couldn’t imagine anything more sophisticated than eating an American Hot pizza from PizzaExpress with a knife and fork. He lists the likes of Black Axe Mangal, Noble Rot and Silk Road as examples of enjoyable restaurants because of their “high wire walk between slick fastidiousness and relaxed, infectious fun”, so we would assume readers can expect an eclectic rage of review choices from him.
Does he know what he’s talking about?
Despite not being a restaurant journalist as such, Famurewa’s work has seen him investigate the hospitality industry to a certain extent. He wrote a feature about new openings around the City area of London, and looked in depth at the £200m luxury members’ hotel The Ned as well as other interesting developments nearby.