The Austin Chronicle


By Virginia B. Wood, July 5, 2002, Food

Fond Farewells & Hearty Welcomes

One fall Saturday in 1995, I was seated on a stool outside of the Boggy Creek Farm stand, and I overheard an attractive young couple having a conversation in French and English that included my name. Curious (and nosy), I introduced myself and discovered that Rebecca Chastenet de Géry was a freelance food writer who was interested in writing for the Chronicle. I visited with Rebecca and her French-born husband, Cedric, while we were shopping that morning, and we made arrangements for her to send me clips of some of her previous articles (standard practice for freelancers seeking employment). I was immediately impressed with Rebecca's clear writing style and international background, but I have to admit that it was the chance meeting over fresh local produce that really sealed the deal. I knew that if Rebecca was shopping at the farm, we already shared some important sensibilities about food, and it was likely that she could help me create the Chronicle Food section I envisioned at that time. During the past seven years, Rebecca has done just that, submitting discerning reviews of local restaurants and thought-provoking features about the Central Texas food scene in an authoritative and informative personal voice. I've come to rely on her professionalism as well as her friendship, and Rebecca's contributions as a member of the Food staff will be sorely missed. After their annual trip to France this summer, the Chastenet de Géry family will relocate to Santa Fe, N.M. We'll envy the cool summer nights in the high desert and wish them well in their new endeavors. Bon chance, mon amis!

At the same Food meeting where we said our goodbyes to Rebecca Chastenet, the Food staff welcomed two new members. Mexico City native Claudia Alarcon paid her way through the University of Texas school of anthropology cooking for local restaurants, emerging with a degree, some top-notch professional cooking skills, and an expertise in Mayan cuisine. Claudia is currently writing a book on tamales and should bring a fascinating new voice to the Chronicle. (She's also a rabid soccer fan, so I can't wait to introduce her to Publisher Nick Barbaro.) Erin Mosow is a journalism student participating in the Chronicle's internship program (under the direction of Kate Messer), and the entire Food staff appreciates her regular updates of the "Second Helpings" columns. We're glad to have them both.

Weekend Festivities

If you're considering a Hill Country getaway for the post-Fourth of July weekend, why not stop in at Fall Creek Vineyards (1820 County Rd. 222 near Tow, 915/379-5361; on Saturday, July 6, noon-5pm, for music, food, and wine. Texas author Terry Thompson-Anderson will be preparing dishes from her wonderful new cookbook Texas on the Plate (Shearer Publishing, $34.95; check out our review at and we'll be glad to sign copies. Burgers and picnic foods will also be available on the comfortable winery patio, along with the music of John Van Vleck and Charlie Hooper.

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