A Letter From Food Editor Phaedra Cook to Our Readers

Phaedra Cook, the soon-to-be-former Houston Press food editor.
Phaedra Cook, the soon-to-be-former Houston Press food editor.
Photo by Chuck Cook Photography

Dear Readers:

This note is to inform you that as of September 2, I will no longer be food editor for the Houston Press.

I realize this news is probably surprising and disappointing. For that, I am sorry. It has been my joy and privilege to serve you. I can say unabashedly that I love being a writer and discovered that I love working with a team, even before I took the food editor position.

Some will say, “You’re leaving already?!” but they aren’t remembering that I’ve written for the Houston Press on and off for the past five years and started being the lead restaurant critic and food writer back in September 2014. This has not been a short-term relationship. In fact, my very first professional article was published at the Houston Press.

I owe editor-in-chief Margaret Downing absolute credit for honing me into a better writer, teaching me what real journalism means and giving me every opportunity to shine.

I wish that more people understood how brilliant and ethical the writers at the Houston Press are and how much they sacrifice to bring you the news every day. They deserve your loyalty and respect. They’re good people.

Furthermore, it would be not only premature but incorrect to assume my relationship with the Houston Press isn’t going to continue in some capacity. In fact, I already am on another major assignment.

That leaves the question of why I have resigned.

I am leaving for personal reasons. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail on that because it’s, you know, personal. There are threads of my life that need to be knit back together. My world needs maintenance: an engine rebuild, not an oil change, and that will take some time.

I have some ideas about the future — many, actually, but I am giving myself the gift of not worrying about it for the next few weeks so I have the peace of mind to address other issues.

I have one favor to ask of you: Stay tuned. Surely you don’t think I’ve worked so hard over the past five years to accumulate all this knowledge just to throw it all away?

Also, stay tuned to the team of freelance writers I’ve helped build for the food section of the Houston Press. Each has unique, specialized knowledge to offer. It’s been a real joy to see each writer blossom and find his or her voice.

Until my replacement has been found, editor-in-chief Margaret Downing will take over food editor duties. Restaurant and bar news should be sent to dish@houstonpress.com. Those interested in either the food editor position or freelance food writing should email résumés and writing samples to margaret.downing@houstonpress.com.

Thank you for your support and readership.  

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