Former Houston Press restaurant critic Robb Walsh has parted ways with Houstonia magazine. His contract was in effect until December 31.
We spoke to Walsh by phone earlier to talk about his change in status. He had this to say:
"I am no longer a contributing editor for Houstonia magazine, but we parted ways on good terms. I have no ax to grind and there are no hard feelings. I may still pitch articles to them in the future, as well as to other publications around town."
Walsh took a position as food editor and restaurant critic for the magazine during its inception. The first issue hit newsstands in April 2013.
Staff shakeups have been a regular occurrence at the magazine since then. Publisher Lou DeLone abandoned his role after the first issue. His background included being the first president and publisher of Houston Modern Luxury (now Houston magazine). He was not replaced until February 2014, when Houston Business journal reported that Diane Caplan was taking on the role of publisher. Caplan did not have a publishing background; she was the ecommerce and marketing director of Houston's Momentum Motors.
In June 2013, just a few months after DeLone left, editor-in-chief John Wilburn also left after just three issues. Wilburn was the first Houston Press editor and later served as a managing editor at the Houston Chronicle.
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There has been a great deal of speculation about Walsh's role at Houstonia since March 2014, when Culturemap Houston reported that Houstonia's "much-ballyhooed food editor hire Robb Walsh is reducing his involvement in the magazine." The article further went on to say that it "continues the fledging magazine's trend of quick and often abrupt departures." (The Culturemap article
has since been deleted, but Eater Houston still has a record of the quote.) Correction, 10:42 p.m: The original Culturemap post has not been deleted and is at this link. The headline was changed from the original post.
Houstonia and Walsh quickly fired back to clarify that he was still with the magazine, but in a reduced role as a contributing editor. Former Houston Press restaurant critic Katharine Shilcutt subsequently filled the dining editor position.
What's Walsh up to next? It's unlikely he'll just be kicking back and drinking margaritas. He continues to be an in-demand subject matter expert. His article in Maxim, "The New Texas 'Cue," received a great deal of attention. He was a guest speaker for the second year at Foro Parralleo in Monterey this past October on the topic of chile con carne. And El Real Tex Mex, the restaurant he's a partner in, isn't going to run itself. He still spends at least one evening a week there.
This certainly isn't the last we're going to hear from the three-time James Beard award-winning author.