Updated: Jul 13
"In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and theirselves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the *new*. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends."
- Anton Ego, Ratatouille
"I feel like you could be one of those reviewers on Yelp and write about your food experiences"
This quote by my cousin, in 2017, sparked an avenue that is currently allowing me to vicariously live my food-influencer and experience-enthusiast dreams. I started leaving a few reviews here and there but once I went to Europe this summer for two and a half weeks, I left a review practically every where that I went. I left so many reviews that on June 20, 2019, I got the email that I had what it takes to be a Yelp Elite member! All I had to do was nominate myself, get reviewed by the almighty Elite Council, and I got accepted into the Yelp Elite Squad!
What is it like to be part of the Yelp Elite Squad?
You get an awesome badge that says you're part of the Elite squad - peep the Elite 2019. In addition to writing reviews that are honest, descriptive, and quality, you get the taste of being a food influencer by participating in the Yelp Elite Events. This year, I have been able to go to two pre-screenings for the movies STUBER and The Art of Racing in the Rain and the most fun event, Candytopia! For the pre-screenings, I was able to bring a +1 to enjoy the movies with. Afterwards, I was required to write a review about my experience which included the process of crowd control when getting into the theater, finding a seat, and what I thought about the movie.
What if an eccentric chocolatier and a daredevil pop star had a whirlwind romance, got married while skydiving, and had a glamorous, glittering love child who grew up to rule a small nation? Welcome to Candytopia, where colossal candyfloss constructions meld with a tantalizing taffy twistedness!
Doesn't this sound awesome?
Candytopia is an immersive space of rooms containing candy and chocolate paintings, sculptures, a 300,000 marshmallow pit, and more!
With this Elite event, we weren't allowed to bring a +1. However, this was actually a great opportunity to meet the other Yelp Elite members. We got to take pictures of each other and talk about the different candy art and sculptures. Who could not talk about the fun swings or the huge dragon that was made of taffy, licorice, and more! There were so many cute photo opportunities that this is an insta feed for days!!
2019 Yelpies Celebration
Picture a cold, drizzling night in SanTan Village and the might of a marathon walker. The Yelpies along with their +1s were given a mission to complete a passport that had 20 stores and restaurants each offering something different. Some of the food highlights were eating bratwurst at Gordon Biersch, pasta and creme brulee at La Madeleine, and meatball and bruschetta at Brio. I also got to hit a few baseballs at the batting cage in Dick's Sporting Goods - I even won a $20 giftcard! When we went into Amerisleep, they gave us each a free travel pillow! Last but not least, we got to finish off this passport tour with rolling around in the inflatable ball at Bump & Roll. This place was so much fun. At the end of the celebration, there was the Yelpies Awards ceremony. This ceremony recognized a group of Elites who embodied the spirit of Yelp and what it means to be Elite all year long. To my surprise, I was awarded the 2019 Rookie of the Year!
What is the
2019 Rookie of the Year award?
This award is for the member who wrote the most reviews in their first year as a Yelp Elite. I happened to write 207 reviews and post 226 photos in the past 11 months. This was attributed to a lot of traveling during the summer (Europe, Colorado, Cabo, San Francisco) as well as the tremendous push to start reviewing local places upon initially becoming a Yelp Elite member. Having been a local, there were so many places that I have been too but have not reviewed - which always makes a great excuse for writing one!
The Yelp Elite Experience!
As a wrap- up, it is so much fun at these Yelp-sponsored events. I'm still in awe that I can experience the delicious food all around the globe. I am thankful to be able to have this lifestyle where I could try a food and share my thoughts. It really only takes a few mins to snap a pic and write a review. In fact, I usually write most of my reviews on the Yelp Mobile app for an easy Check-In and since I'm always on the go! If you think you've got what it takes or know someone who could be a Yelp Elite member, send in a nomination here! Until next time, SYOY / See You On Yelp!