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  1. Food

We're excited to welcome our new food critic, Helen Freund

New 'Times' food critic Helen Freund started this week. (MICHELLE STARK   |   Times)
New 'Times' food critic Helen Freund started this week. (MICHELLE STARK | Times)
Published Jun. 24

You're going to start seeing a new face around the table: Our new food critic Helen Freund arrives this week.

We're excited to welcome Freund to a role that remains crucial as Tampa Bay's culinary scene continues to expand. She comes from New Orleans, so she's no stranger to warm climates and a strong food culture. Freund was the food and dining editor and restaurant critic for Gambit Weekly, New Orleans' alternative weekly newspaper, and a contributing writer for the New Orleans Advocate.

She has a background in both food and reporting. She attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and later worked as a chef in New York City for several years, then worked as a general assignment reporter for the New York Post and later on the criminal justice beat at the Times-Picayune in New Orleans.

As food critic, Freund will write restaurant reviews, which will become a weekly part of the Taste section again. She won't be anonymous, and you'll be getting to know her more in the coming weeks through photos, video and her writing.

Freund will also report and write in-depth stories about our food scene, like the one she wrote about wage disparities of New Orleans food service workers that in 2017 led to her being named a finalist by the Press Club of New Orleans' Excellence in Journalism awards.

She'll spend these first few weeks getting acquainted with her new home. We've put together a list of iconic Tampa Bay restaurants for Freund to check out, places that highlight different parts of our large and diverse food community. Bern's Steak House. The Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks. Our new collection of food halls. Frenchy's on the beach.

We want your input, too. Which places must a new Tampa Bay resident check out? What new and noteworthy spots should she add to her list of potential reviews? Send them to hfreund@tampabay.com.

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