The churn that is food writing at the Orange County Register is at work again. Having ejected some outstanding writers (Cynthia Furey, Kat Nguyen, Tenny Tatusian), the latest victim is Niyaz Pirani, one half of the Food Frenzy blogging duo at the Register (and the guy on the right in this photo cribbed from the site's Facebook page). Pirani, who is also the Mission Viejo reporter (though he has resisted our attempts to get him to go rabbit hunting), has tendered his resignation effective tomorrow, Oct. 8. According to his Facebook page and a note on the Food Frenzy blog, he's moving on to a non-journalism career.
Pirani, a five-year veteran of the Register, joined Jeff Overley on the Food Frenzy blogging team in 2008 after Nguyen's departure. We at Fork have watched as he's discovered some of the best and most unusual food in OC, from Blake's Place BBQ to fetal duck eggs in Little Saigon, from French charcuterie to loncheras both old- and new-school.
Pirani's departure is the latest in a series of talented writers fleeing the Register. There are still some great writers and some true lovers of food over there, but it's perfectly clear that food writing is firmly in the "ancillary duties" section of job descriptions at the Register. There hasn't been a full-time food critic since 2007; the food section that used be a reason to skip the Los Angeles Times in favor of the Register has dried up to a couple of pages once a week in the Living section and10 or so blog posts a week, half of which are about restaurant closings and fast food. There's no consistent voice in the reviews, and due to the rotating staff, it's hard to learn the reviewers' biases in order to interpret their reviews correctly.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Overley will now be joined on Food Frenzy by OC Register Laguna Beach reporter Claudia Koerner. Welcome to the exciting, fast-paced, money-crazed world of OC food blogging, Claudia; you've got big shoes to fill, but we're looking forward to reading you. Just one question: What exactly is your position on the taco acorazado at Alebrije's oddly colored taco truck?