Longtime Austin food writer and former Chronicle food editor and restaurant critic Virginia B. Wood has died, as reported by Austin 360, at the age of 67 years old. She passed away earlier today in San Antonio due to various medical conditions. She had always championed Austin’s food scene, from uncovering local restaurants and food trucks to urging the crucial importance of cooking.
Wood joined the Chronicle in 1992 as restaurant critic, and became the food editor in 1997. She stayed with the alt-weekly for 23 years. Within that span, she stepped down as food editor in 2014 and passing the torch to then-staffer Brandon Watson. She retired completely from the publication in 2016. (In the fall of 2017, Watson became the food editor of CultureMap Austin and San Antonio, and Jessi Cape took his place at the Chronicle.)
Before Wood became a writer, she made tortillas at Fonda San Miguel and baked desserts for numerous Austin restaurants, including Kerbey Lane Cafe. She also co-wrote the cookbook for classic Tex-Mex restaurant Fonda San Miguel.
The Austin Food & Wine Alliance and the Chronicle hosted a bake sale to help raise money for Wood’s medical bills last summer. The city’s best chefs gathered to make things like brisket kolaches from Aaron Franklin and David Norman, tamales from Lenoir, and sweets galore. They raised $7,300.
This article will be updated when there is information about local memorial services.
Update, March 26: Wood’s public memorial will be held at El Meson on South Lamar on Sunday, April 8 from 3 to 6 p.m.