To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)

I started this blog in November 2007. Over two and a half years later, things have changed significantly.

I am no longer employed in the HR department of a large, corporate behemoth, but am now working for an alt weekly.

I am no longer married, but am now kicking it Mary Tyler Moore-style surrounded by amazing friends and a supportive family.

I am no longer living in a thoroughly modern condo in the suburbs, but am now the current custodian of a lovely 1920s slice of history in the inner city.

And soon I will no longer be the web editor for the Houston Press, the amazing job that I’ve held for the past year and a half.

The story of how I ended up at the Press in the first place begins here, at she eats. And it begins with Robb Walsh, my favorite food writer and the first ever commenter on this blog. It was certainly an auspicious beginning to a blog that had started merely as an outlet for my two great loves: food and writing. Within a year, Robb had invited me to lunch at Bistro Don Camillo for a review he was writing. It was close to my birthday and I remember thinking it was possibly the best birthday gift I’d ever received (even if it was inadvertent on his end). He talked to me about freelancing for the Press and I nearly fainted in the booth.

I started writing for Eating…Our Words in December 2008. Befitting a true Texan, my first post was on Dr Pepper. Before long, I was asked to sub for Robb when he went on vacation, turning in a few print reviews. Textile was the first restaurant I ever reviewed for print, in March 2009, and I strongly recall being abjectly terrified when I saw Scott Tycer stride into the dining room on my second visit. He looked like a man you didn’t want to write bad things about…ever.

As I continued writing for the Press, it became increasingly clear to me that I had ferreted my way into the wrong line of work…in my day job. I was miserable during the day, blogging furtively at my desk and looking forward to 5 o’clock when I could be alone with my laptop (hey, I’m an introvert, in case anyone’s somehow missed that along the way). And then the call came from Keith Plocek, the former web editor at the Press who was leaving for L.A. Could I possibly do his job?

I was already blogging for Houstonist at the time in addition to she eats. and the Press, so I was more than familiar with the blogging software and the intricacies of the Interwebz (LOLcats, check; 4chan, check; LOLrus missing his bukket, check; TotalFark, check), Facebook and Twitter. And so in April 2009, I became the web editor and have loved every single day, hour, minute and second of the job. It’s afforded me opportunities I’d never thought would be available — I’ve covered festivals like ACL and SXSW, learned about the ins and outs of the newspaper industry and journalism, met incredible people and been inspired by them on a daily basis — and has brought me happiness that I never thought I’d have in a career. I never intended to leave the web editor role unless it was pried from my cold, dead hands.

So why am I leaving?

Well, I’m not. Not really.

Life comes full circle, after all. And where people like Robb Walsh and Alison Cook have tread before me, so shall I tread now. I’m happy and terrified to say that I’ve been offered the job as the new food critic for the Houston Press. And I took it.

I’ll only say this: Believe me when I say that I don’t take this job lightly. It’s an incredible honor and there are enormous shoes to fill — I frankly don’t think I ever will fill those shoes. But I promise that I’ll do the best job possible, try never to lead readers astray, introduce people to as many new restaurants and cuisines as possible and hopefully change a few minds along the way.

After all, injera bread only looks like a Dr. Scholl’s insert. It tastes much better, I promise.


29 thoughts on “To Everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)”

  1. I am so very very happy for you. What an inspirational story. Best of luck and congratulations, my friend.

  2. I’m sure you won’t be the next Alison Cook or the next Robb Walsh. I’m confident that years from now people will be wondering who could possibly ever be the next Katherine Shillcutt. So FWIW… I. Am. Excited.


  3. Congrats Katherine! It’s good to see a home grown writer take over such a position with the Press. Your love of cuisine certainly will shine through in the coming reviews.

    And you still owe me lunch sometime for a trivia win on here. :Þ

  4. I remember like it was yesterday reading your first post on this blog. I believed it to be prophetic at the time and I was right:

    “And so it begins…

    For some time now, I’ve been intending to combine the two things I love most in life (aside from family, friends, oxygen, a beating heart and all that nonsense…): food and writing. This little corner of the blogosphere will be about food, restaurants, products, wines, beers — if I can ingest it (legally) or I can cook/bake/prepare food with it, I’ll write about it. And you can rest assured that I won’t mince words, I won’t be dull and I will be a faithful reviewer and updater to my readers, whether they be one or one billion.

    So…let the games begin!’

    And, I have another prophesy – you’ll have billions of readers. Of that, I’m sure!!!

    I’m SO happy for you and proud of you!!!!!!

  5. This makes me so VERY happy. Your new position has been well-earned and is well-deserved…can’t wait to read all of your new work!

  6. Congratulations! I’ve always enjoyed your writing. Somehow I think I’m going to enjoy it even more in print every week. I’ll even start taking a copy home with me 🙂

  7. Congratulations, my friend! I’m so very happy for you. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us. I know you’ll do a wonderful job. 🙂

  8. Congratulations!! I love your writing and know you will do an awesome job. 🙂 Best of luck to you!!

  9. Congratulations Katie. Anyone who could get an old country boy from Ft Worth to try (and like) Ethiopian and food can’t help but be a success in your new job. You continue to amaze with your talents, and I am so very proud of you.

  10. Yahooo for you, sweet Katie! Your writings have kept Houston (and Texas) near and dear to my heart. Good things come to good people…as my Dad always said…and you are good people! Write on… 🙂

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