Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Final Reflection on Reviewing Restaurants

Editor's Note: The final element of the Unfamiliar Genre Project is the student's reflection on the experience of researching and working with the genre they selected.  After writing his review K Town, Br. Jorge Haro, M.Sp.S., offered this reflection.

A Final Reflection on the Unfamiliar Genre Project

My unfamiliar genre restaurant review project gave me the opportunity to learn about a new culture.  I have never had the opportunity to taste Korean food before. My research led me to learn Korean customs and tradition when sharing meals. I got to appreciate their cultural values and their sense of family union.

As a writer, I was able to learn techniques to do good restaurant reviews. I discovered the different parts of a basic restaurant review and the basic descriptions needed to be done so the public will have a good idea of the restaurant in general.  The restaurant review genre does not have a set of hard established rules, so it gives the writer the opportunity to explore different ways of expressing his judgments.  It was interesting to see how different writers have different sections in their reviews and how their style expresses, in a way, their own personality.

During the whole process of my project, the help of others played an important role. Many times I had to ask for advice. I also learned to make use of tools that are available here at the seminary to help us during our writing process. I got a better understanding of how the library system works. The assistance provided by the different librarians was crucial during the whole course of my project. People who work at the writing center helped me in developing a new style of writing. It was hard to change from an academic type of writing to a style that was less structured but unfamiliar to me.  Keeping a journal where I wrote down my thoughts, things to do list, and things that I have done was a great new tool that I learned.  The journal made my research, advances, and struggles easy to track and follow up.

The scarcity of instructional books on how to write a good restaurant review took me to the Internet to look for good resources. I was accustomed to always finding books in the library, but this was not the case during my research process.  I learned the influence of social media in the food market. People are able to make comments and give feedback that will influence the decision of others at the moment of deciding what restaurant to visit. Restaurants’ reputations can be destroyed if people do not like what they offer.  I learned that as a restaurant reviewer, prudence and charity must be part of my style.

As a Missionary of the Holy Spirit, writer, and journalist, I am obliged to be truthful to reality and to my own experience, but I have to learn ways in which my comments will continue to show my Christian values and religious identity. In our days, this type of charitable writing style is not easy to find in many restaurant reviews. Covered by anonymity, citizens have the power to destroy the work and effort of many people in the restaurant business.  For me, it was a matter of simple discernment before writing down my comments.

At the end, I found myself excited about the unfamiliar genre. The opportunity to know places, the stories shared around the table, and the whole process of becoming a better writer motivated in me the desire for continuing to explore this and other types of genres and writing styles.

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