Welcome to the Central Coast Critic, aka Kathy Marcks Hardesty, on Facebook and WordPress! I’m a freelance food and wine columnist who has covered the amazing growth of the Central Coast restaurant and winery scene since early 1996. My lifelong career, however, began many years earlier when I started working in restaurants and bars in 1979. I would spend 12 years in the restaurant industry, six years front of the house followed by six years cooking professionally. I am also a graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.
Believe it or not, I left it all behind once I had the opportunity to start working for Wine Spectator magazine in San Francisco. I started out as the assistant to the tasting coordinator and soon became the editor for the restaurant award program, which I still describe as the greatest job of my life. During the seven years I worked there, I never missed a day of work, I loved my job. But that was working for someone else who called the shots. When I moved to the Central Coast in 1996, I finally realized my lifelong dream, of becoming a freelance writer. I have so many great stories from my 35 years in the business. Many were funny, some were sad, and there are a few poignant tales, but those were the milestones that made me who I am today. I’ll be building upon my biography regularly as my blog gains momentum, and sharing all of the highlights of my life in my biography as the Central Coast Critic.