Leslie Brenner announced today that she is resigning from her post as restaurant critic at the Dallas Morning News, a position she has held for the past eight years. In those years, the Dallas dining scene has changed tremendously. And Brenner has been a precise and often critical presence. According to the Dallas Morning News, on September 8, Brenner will be moving from her current position to a senior management position with Rebees, a restaurant and real estate company headed by the talented Tristan Simon. (If you have been following the dining scene, Simon is responsible for some of the most talked-about development at Victory Park.)
Before taking my position as dining critic for D Magazine, I wrote a number of reviews for Brenner. I found her to be a precise editor and a lover of a well-turned phrase. The Dallas Morning News announced that it will lead a national search to find Brenner’s replacement. Given where Dallas is now, compared to eight years ago, there is far more to absorb. The city has layers. And that, of course, for a city that loves to dine, is a good thing.
In recent months, The Dallas Morning News has reshuffled its staff, leading to positions that include other commitments. Over the last year, some readers may have been following Brenner’s blog, Cooks Without Borders, where she explored the making of dishes in a home kitchen. The News experimented with sit-down interviews with chefs like Tim Byers or Mudhen’s Suki Otsuki, which followed the release of certain major dining reviews last year. As the landscape of dining changes, so do approaches to the coverage. Brenner was one of the first dining critics to dispense with anonymity, a move that mirrored a handful of others nationwide. Brenner–and the Morning News’ star system–also created a certain amount of controversy. I know a number of readers will be wondering: yes, but will they abolish those much-contested stars?