Frank Bruni

Bruni is an American journalist, author, and former restaurant critic for The New York Times.

Bruni grew up in Westchester, went to college at UNC-Chapel Hill, and earned a master's from Columbia's j-school before taking a job at the Post in the late 1980s. He moved on to the Detroit Free Press, where he covered the Gulf War and worked as a movie critic, and returned to New York in 1995 to join the Times as a reporter at the metro desk. Three years later, he was promoted and dispatched to Washington to cover national politics and the 2000 presidential election. While in D.C., Bruni covered then-governor George W. Bush's campaign. His second book, Ambling Into History: The Unlikely Odyssey of George W. Bush, details his experiences with the Bush campaign and W himself — as the Times' lead reporter on the Bush campaign, Bruni spent a lot of time with the future president. Following the election, he spent two years in Italy as the Rome bureau chief and in 2004, Bruni was tapped to be the Times's restaurant critic, a job that had been previously held by William Grimes. His role as food critic afforded him the opportunity to make (or break) restaurants in New York; brutal Bruni reviews were responsible for chefs getting fired, as well as killing off restaurants altogether. He stepped down as restaurant tastemaker in 2009 to promote his third book, Born Round, which documents his lifelong weight-struggle.

Bruni didn't stay away from the Times for long: he returned to the paper in 2011 as the first openly gay Op-Ed columnist. Times readers have been privy to Bruni's opinion on technology, politics, pop culture, and, naturally, food. [Image via Getty]