Just a couple of years ago, the Orange County Register's food section was amongst the best in the country–recipes, features, their own wine columnist in longtime Reg investigative reporter Chris Knap, and two food reviews per week: one on Thursday by the execrable Elizabeth Evans, and another one on Friday by the super-talented Tenny Tatusian. Tatusian would also throw in a mini-review in the paper's standalone food-section, if I remember correctly.
Things got even better in late 2005, when the county's paper of record began their food blog–originally called Food Frenzy, but then switched to Gluttonista when reporter Katherine Nguyen began covering food. Other writers joined in the mix–Cynthia Furey, and the occasional food review by a regular Register reporter (the two I remember contributing most were Greg Hardesty and Marla Jo Fisher).
Flash-forward three years. The standalone food section is no more. The second review on Fridays is gone, as is the once-substantial dining guide. Knap's column went adios, Tatusian left long ago, and Nguyen–a foodie of the highest caliber, one whose friendly personality burst forth in every review and whose grin was being enticed in Gluttonista's banner–has just left the Register. Writer Niyaz Pirani promises better things to come, and let's hope that happens, but we don't have much faith in a paper that has let so much talent leave what was once a great section.
If you think I'm going to dance on the grave of a competitor, you're wrong. I vaguely knew Nguyen–I never said hi to her, but ran into her at some events from time to time–and I always heard she was a class act. I know she's obsessed with hole-in-the-walls, and anyone who is can depend on goodwill from me. Hopefully, another publication is smart enough to pick her up and let the Register slide further into oblivion…speaking of which, Kat: wanna blog for us?