'A good start for me:' Young man from St. Francis with autism finds voice, passion in food reviews

Dominic Dean

ST. FRANCIS -- Everybody is a critic, but this food critic will melt your heart, eating his way to a bright future.

Smiling from ear to ear, excited about tickling his taste buds, Dominic Dean shares his love for cuisine -- and his opinions -- with thousands online.

"It's like, an experience, going to trying new foods," said Dean.

At just 14, Dean began his own social media page and YouTube channel -- "Dominic's Milwaukee Restaurant and City Reviews."

"My favorite types of food are Chinese, Mexican, and barbeque," said Dean.

Though, there's one thing you won't find on his plate.

"Desserts," he said. "Not my favorite thing, desserts. I'm a healthy eater."

But the sweet part about it all has been his growth and engagement.

"He was very shy," said Matthew Dean, Dominic's father. "He wouldn't talk to people unless you told him what to say."

Dominic has autism, and this experience has helped him come out of his shell tremendously.

"I love seeing how happy it makes him," said Matthew Dean. "I love seeing how much it's opened him up and how much confidence he has."

It's also been a big help academically.

Matthew Dean

"You can see the improvement in his writing from the beginning of the reviews to now," said Matthew Dean.

A few quick photos and a journal entry is followed by an in-depth write-up online.

"How the food tastes and how the theme of the restaurant looks," said Dominic Dean.

From small cafes and Milwaukee-area restaurants to big dreams and career goals, Dominic wants to take his passion for food nationwide -- and even abroad.

"I'm on my way. This is a good start for me," he said.

If you want to check out Dominic's reviews, they are available on Facebook and YouTube.