Virginia B. Wood Dies at 67
Austin food community mourns the loss of one of its champions
Virginia B. Wood, the Chronicle's food editor from 1997 to 2014, died Friday, March 2, in a San Antonio care facility.
Wood helped pioneer food news reporting in Austin. Her column, "Food-o-File," chronicled the latest in chef changes, restaurant openings, shuttered food businesses, and up-and-coming artisan foodmakers, from 1995 until 2015. Her column also acted as a call-to-action for food businesses and hospitality folks that needed the community's help. She was an early reporter on the burgeoning farm-to-table movement and many chefs that would later become stars in the food world. Her restaurant reviews were detailed and fair, and her encyclopedic knowledge is regarded as a foundation for our now nationally recognized premier food scene.
A talented baker who trained on the line in the Fonda San Miguel kitchen, Wood proudly co-wrote the text for Fonda San Miguel: Thirty Years of Food and Art, published in 2005. She also operated a local wholesale catering business, At Home on the Range, providing desserts, in addition to selling her treats to local restaurants for many years. Les Dames d'Escoffier made Wood an honorary dame in 2016, the same year she officially retired from the Chronicle. The Virginia B. Wood Hall of Fame was also created that year to honor institutional restaurants in our annual First Plates issue.
In July 2017, Wood's colleagues from the Chronicle, Austin Food & Wine Alliance, and Les Dames d'Escoffier Austin coordinated a bake sale benefit to supplement Wood's medical care. Batter Up for Virginia was a who's who of the local culinary community, with more than 30 well-known chefs and restaurant teams coming together to show their support for the woman who helped launch many of their culinary careers. David Norman of Easy Tiger and Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue created brisket kolaches that sold out in under one minute, and the event raised more than $7,000.
On a personal note, Wood published my first article for the Chronicle, in 2008. Both my mentor and my friend – and a fellow "West Texas gal" – Virginia will be greatly missed.
Wood's memorials are being planned and we'll update this page with more info.