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Virginia Wood steps down as Austin Chronicle food editor

Addie Broyles

Virginia Wood is leaving her position as the food editor of the Austin Chronicle.

Wood started at the alt-weekly 21 years ago and took over as food editor in 1997. She announced the departure in her Food-O-File column today, adding that she’ll continue to write features and the occasional restaurant review as she works on book projects.

Her replacement? Brandon Watson, an assistant news editor at the Chronicle whose recent food coverage has been limited to the recent TABC-Twin Liquors investigation and settlement.

In her farewell, Wood said: “Austin’s food and restaurant scene has evolved dramatically during my tenure and covering that culinary emergence and growth in ethnic diversity has been the best job I could imagine. I’m proud of our Food section and grateful to all the contributing writers who shared my vision over the years and helped me realize it….This is a fast-paced and demanding job in the Internet age, and I wish Brandon all the best with it. I encourage everyone to get to know Brandon and enjoy his voice and direction as the Food section moves into another exciting era in our city’s continued culinary evolution.”

A regular presence at food events and a mentor to countless emergent food writers, Wood’s influence on the Austin food community has been great over the past 20 years.

The fifth-generation Texan started worked in restaurants when she was a student the University of Texas studying Spanish and early childhood development. After teaching for a few years, she worked as the first pastry chef at Fonda San Miguel and later co-wrote “Fonda San Miguel: Thirty Years Of Food And Art” in 2005. She has continued to operate a catering company, Las Dulces, during her tenure as food editor.

In an interview on Thursday, Wood says that continuing to write about the restaurant world and food community she has worked in for so many years while having the opportunity to pursue other projects is a dream. “This is the best of all possible worlds for me.”