Batchelor’s Life: A food critic’s career

Posted on September 24, 2019

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The most exciting careers have twists and turns. UNCG’s career services experts say most people have multiple careers over a lifetime. Just ask Dr. John Batchelor ’83 MA.


A junior high school teacher of language arts and social studies for 15 years, he started writing professionally on weekends. It made him a better teacher. “My former students told me they learned to write in the eighth grade.”

Fun fact: The food critic for the local paper told him he was leaving the gig. John applied and got it. They told him he’d get tired of it soon. (They were wrong.)

Graduate Student

Dr. Richard Bardolph drew him to UNCG for his master’s in history. Dr. Richard Current, the nation’s foremost Lincoln scholar, and Dr. Robert Calhoon were other favorite professors.

Fun fact: Later, he earned an Ed.D. from NC State.


As a UNCG graduate, he wrote “The History of Guilford County Schools.” He co-wrote the popular high school textbook “The American Nation.” He wrote “Race and Education in North Carolina,” for LSU Press.

Fun fact: Researching that first book helped prepare him to be assistant superintendent.


First he was assistant superintendent for two systems, then superintendent for Anson and Scotland County school systems.

Fun fact: He then was a consultant and writer for education foundations and centers.

Food Critic

He’s written columns for 38 years and over 1,000 dining reviews, most for the News & Record. He currently writes for Yes! Weekly.

We had to ask him, “What does you predict for new trends in cuisine?”

He demurs. “My crystal ball is greasy.”

By Mike Harris
Illustration by Lisa Summerell

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