Best Wishes and Bon Voyage, Brandon Watson

Chronicle Food editor sets sail, Jessi Cape assumes helm

The food industry is a tumultuous one, so it stands to reason the food reviewing business has its fair share of shake-ups, too.

Brandon Watson and Jessi Cape

This week, our dear Food Editor Brandon Watson is leaving us for a spot at CultureMap Austin, where he’ll be casting his exacting eye on a broader canvas to include San Antonio. (Watch out, S.A. Brandon is tough.)

We’ve loved having Brandon in our ranks these past five years: first as a "Gay Place" blogger, then as assistant news editor, and finally as our Food editor and chief restaurant critic starting in 2014. Brandon also took over running the judges’ table at our annual Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival, shepherded three First Plates Awards (our annual compendium of the top 100 restaurants in Austin), grumbled the least when Marketing Director Sarah Wolf needed someone to go on TV (Brandon gives great interviews), and – as if he needed another feather in his cap – revitalized our "Best of Austin" issue as its 2016 editor. In short: Brandon’s a good egg, and we’re not surprised another media outlet wanted a crack at him.

The sunny side up? We didn’t have to look far for his replacement. Jessi Cape started at the Chronicle in 2007 answering calls at our front desk, and ever since she’s officially been employed here as part of our essential office staff, most recently as office manager, where she put together some pretty epic lunch spreads for us on press days, hauling into the Chron kitchen her own slow cooker. That nexus of nourishment and community has also driven Jessi as a longtime contributing writer for this paper.

Jessi’s first writing assignment for the Chronicle, back in 2010, was for the Food section, and she developed her writing chops under legendary Chron Food Editor Virginia B. Wood’s wing. Since then, Jessi has written for every section of the paper on a vast swath of topics – books, bees, butchery, sustainability, film, feminism, to name but a few – and most recently she’s written cover stories on YouTube influencer Evelyn Ngugi and yoga-for-the-masses missionary Adriene Mishler and profiled local heirloom grains producer Barton Springs Mill. We know she’ll bring the same curiosity, passion, and sense of adventure that has defined her reporting to her new role as Food editor and make a worthy successor to the high standard of excellence Brandon has set.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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Brandon Watson, Jessi Cape, Virginia B. Wood, food reviewing

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