Traveling around the world and trying different foods is a dream come true for anyone. For Gregory Richards, it’s not a dream but a lifestyle.
Richards’ love for food has seated him in over 400 diverse restaurants across the world. Critiquing a variety of culinary dishes has not only created close-knit relationships in Richards’s life but also given him a unique perspective on food.
“After working in culinary for years, I got tired of cooking but I never lost my love for food,” said Richards. “I was from New York City and when I moved to Atlanta, one thing I realized is that there were a plethora of food places down here.”
Richards had a goal to visit every single restaurant in Atlanta. Once he set that goal in place, the exploring began. Richards focused on restaurants that served frequent specials, whether it be a happy hour or a buy-one-get-one free meal helped guide him through the restaurant’s menu.
“It was the passion for food that I never lost even though my passion for cooking and preparing food dwindled,” said Richards. “I never thought of it as reviewing. I just wanted to go to places where I could get quality food for a good price.”
This simple act of looking for deals on a menu grew into full-blown food critiquing at the various eateries, cafes, diners and bistros Richards has visited. This unexpected action then led to another side of food Richards loves– the social connections food has brought into his life.
“I’ve met restaurant owners, my biggest friend group made up of other social media food reviewers and bloggers who do the same thing as I do,” said Richards. “Me and my friends get a lot of invitational meets from new restaurants that want feedback on their food. Experiences, where I get to meet new people who do what I do and have the same interest as me, is something I enjoy the most.”
Many become tired or burned out when completing monotonous routines. Richards made it clear that is how he felt during culinary school but when it comes to evaluating food that feeling never arose. It was the change of perspective in the same field that paved the way for his career.
“Even though I love going to these different restaurants and eating these different dishes, it’s about the experience food brings,” said Richards. “I go to restaurants by myself but when I go with friends or family we spend time breaking bread and laughing over food. It’s that experience that makes the food taste even better sometimes.”