Star Tribune food critic Rick Nelson is moving to the architecture beat

A nationwide search has been launched to find a replacement for the award-winning food critic.

After 23 years writing about the great and the good of the Minnesota restaurant scene, the Star Tribune's food critic Rick Nelson is moving to a new beat.

The Star Tribune announced Thursday that Nelson, who joined the newspaper as a restaurant critic and reporter in 1998, will now be covering architecture.

Meanwhile a nationwide search has been launched to find the award-winning critic's replacement.

Over the years, Nelson has become known for regular features celebrating the Twin Cities food scene, including his popular annual endurance trial of eating every new food at the Minnesota State Fair on opening day.

"I have loved my job covering and critiquing restaurants in the Twin Cities and beyond, but I am ready to pursue other journalistic passions,” Nelson said in a press release. "Those include history, architecture and dance – and of course I’ll keep a toe in the food world."

The Strib says that as part of his new role, Nelson will "explore, explain and critique the built environment in the Twin Cities and Minnesota, from new buildings to iconic classics."

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“For more than 20 years, Rick has been a go-to source for food lovers and others who appreciate and support the Twin Cities restaurant scene,” said Assistant Managing Editor Sue Campbell, who oversees the Features department. 

"Readers and restaurateurs alike have grown to trust Rick for his extraordinary blend of inside knowledge, insight, opinion, fairness, and a relatable, inclusive perspective that celebrates the diversity of our food community. While we’ll miss his sharp takes in our Taste coverage, we’re delighted he will continue to write for the Homes section, Streetscapes and on various arts and food stories. We are eager to see him apply his talents in this new way."

Nelson became the Star Tribune's sole food critic (sole as in only, not the fish) in 2007, and over the years has written for almost 1,200 of the newspaper's weekly Taste sections, creating annual features such as Restaurant of the Year, the Taste 50 and the Star Tribune Holiday Cookie Contest.

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