Los Angeles Times Names Laurie Ochoa General Manager and Daniel Hernandez Editor of Food
Los Angeles Times has named Laurie Ochoa general manager of Food and Daniel Hernandez editor of Food. Ochoa is currently a deputy editor in Entertainment and Arts. Hernandez has served as deputy Food editor since last September.
The Los Angeles Times has named Laurie Ochoa general manager of Food, beginning in late April, and Daniel Hernandez editor of Food, effective immediately. Ochoa is currently a deputy editor in Entertainment and Arts. Hernandez has served as deputy Food editor since last September. He succeeds Alice Short, who has served as acting Food editor since July 2020.
“Laurie and Daniel both deeply understand the cultural and culinary landscape of Los Angeles,” said Times Executive Editor Kevin Merida. “We’re extremely fortunate to have two L.A. Times veterans, each of whom brings decades of experience as a journalist and embraces the opportunity to experiment with form, leading the team.”
Amy King, The Times’ deputy managing editor for lifestyle and features, added: “Food is a central and necessary area of coverage for us, in a region that has such a wide variety of cuisines, enviable produce year-round, a reputation for setting trends and, for many, persistent challenges with food insecurity. With Daniel guiding our editorial mission and Laurie driving our ambitions forward, we will continue the tradition of excellent coverage and seek out even more ways to inspire, entertain and sustain people through food in Los Angeles.”
As the general manager, Ochoa will oversee all facets of Food. She will work within the newsroom and across the organization to ensure that Food is positioned for success and growth. Ochoa will be wrapping up her tenure as a deputy editor in Entertainment and Arts at the end of April and then will transition to the role of general manager for Food, reporting to King.
“The way we eat, grow and cook our food is undergoing huge cultural, technological and economic changes,” Ochoa said. “I want to help tell the stories of this transformation, to find new voices to shed light on the unexplored effects of the changes, to amplify the work being done by our deeply talented Food staff and to create meaningful connections between L.A. Times Food and the many food communities of Southern California. So many chefs and farmers and home cooks have adapted to the challenges of the past two years with grace, ingenuity and a lot of struggle. I’m excited to join L.A. Times Food and help bring readers stories of passion and resourcefulness, while always, of course, being on the lookout for the next great taco truck.”
Hernandez has served as the deputy editor for Food since September. As editor, he will be responsible for the vision, planning and day-to-day management of Food, expanding The Times’ coverage of food, cooking, dining and the many ways the artistry and industry associated with food intersect with culture and society. He will report into Ochoa.
“Food is the only universal language we have in Los Angeles,” Hernandez said. “We express ourselves through our foods, learn about one another through what we eat. I see food as a vector to talk about so many other things: politics, labor, agriculture, climate, culture, justice. It is truly a privilege to take on this role, to help this news organization reflect the awe-inspiring range of cuisines – and challenges – of our food culture in Southern California. I’m also so eager to work with Laurie Ochoa, who’s been a mentor of mine for more than 15 years.”
Ochoa’s history with The Times goes back to 1988 and, notably, from 1993 to ’99 she was Food editor. She then moved to New York to become executive editor of Gourmet magazine. She has won two James Beard Awards for her food writing, and the cookbook she co-wrote, “Nancy Silverton’s Breads From the La Brea Bakery,” was nominated for an IACP Julia Child Cookbook Award and a James Beard Cookbook Award. She returned to Southern California as editor in chief of the L.A. Weekly, which won more national journalism awards during her stewardship than any other alternative newsweekly – including the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for criticism. Ochoa then co-founded and edited Slake: Los Angeles, a journal of narrative reporting, essays, fiction, art and poetry. Before returning to The Times in 2012, she also served as an interim editor of the Hollywood Reporter.
Hernandez is a two-time veteran of The Times. From 2002 to ’06, he was a Metro reporter in L.A. In 2010, he became a researcher and reporter in the Mexico City bureau. In between, he was an L.A. Weekly staff writer, a job that prompted his relocation to Mexico, where he wrote “Down & Delirious in Mexico City,” a book about youth subcultures. He’s held a variety of roles at VICE Media, including editor of VICE México, Latin America bureau chief for VICE News, and producer and correspondent on HBO’s “VICE News Tonight.” For VICE’s food platform, Munchies, Hernandez hosted several documentaries, including “The Munchies Guide to Oaxaca.” Before returning to The Times in 2019, he did a stint writing for the New York Times Styles section and relaunched the L.A. culture and food site L.A. Taco, leading to its recognition with the 2020 James Beard Foundation Emerging Voice Award.
Merida added, “Our sincerest thanks and admiration to Alice Short, who’s provided exemplary leadership as acting Food editor. We’re thrilled that Alice will now be returning to her role as a senior editor shepherding some of our most creative journalism.”
L.A. Times Food includes ongoing coverage at latimes.com/food and in the L.A. Times app; regular reporting in the paper’s Weekend section; the Cooking and Tasting Notes newsletters; video series such as “What We’re Into,” “Off Menu With Lucas Peterson” and “The Bucket List With Jenn Harris”; and the annual 101 Best Restaurants guide. In addition, Times food coverage extends to its signature food festivals, including Food Bowl and the 101 Best Restaurants launch party, as well as other live events, video projects and radio appearances throughout the year. The Times recently completed construction on a state-of-the-art test kitchen and studio, “The Kitchen at the Los Angeles Times,” which will serve as a hub for recipe development and video production, and will be recruiting for several roles in the department, including a deputy editor, art director, photo editor, reporter, two social content creators and an audience engagement editor.