San Francisco Chronicle restaurant critic Michael Bauer to retire after 32 years

- Michael Bauer, a well-known and influential restaurant critic is retiring from The Chronicle after three decades.

“I’m leaving The Chronicle after 32 years!” Bauer tweeted, from an account that classically hides his face behind a menu so that owners don’t know who he is when he shows up to review their food and service. “My last day will be in September, but I’m not calling it retirement.”

His final review will run in the Food + Home section later this summer. The Chronicle will immediately begin a national search for a new restaurant critic, the newspaper reported.

Bauer’s journalism career began in 1975 as a features writer at the Kansas City Star.

After joining The Chronicle in 1986, Bauer launched the publication’s annual Top 100 list, a collection of restaurant reviews and recommendations. It is a list that often made or broke restaurants.

Bauer also launched the blog Inside Scoop, which first appeared on SFGate in 2010 and now runs on The Chronicle website. With Bauer at the helm, the paper's food section was nominated for multiple James Beard Foundation Awards, winning four times.

Bauer also served as a member and former chairman of the James Beard restaurant committee, president of the Association of Food Journalists, and in 2004 was inducted into the Who’s Who of Food and Beverage by the James Beard Foundation.

“In my 32 years at The Chronicle I’ve loved peeling back the layers of what makes San Francisco a great food city,” Bauer told the Chronicle. “But now I’m looking forward to the freedom of branching out with freelance writing, working on a book and pursuing other interests.”

No word on whether Bauer will reveal his face once he retires.

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