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The Los Angeles Times to bring back a standalone Food section led by Peter Meehan

The Los Angeles Times to bring back a standalone Food section led by Peter Meehan
Clockwise from top left: Food columnist Lucas Kwan Peterson, Deputy Food Editor Andrea Chang, Food Editor Peter Meehan, staff writers Jenn Harris and Amy Scattergood, and restaurant critics (holding newspapers) Bill Addison and Patricia Escárcega. (Tiffany Roohani)

In April, the Los Angeles Times will bring back its standalone Food section, seven years after it was folded into the Saturday features pages. Food will run Thursdays and be devoted to dining, cooking, drinking and entertaining.

The announcement was made Tuesday at the Manufactory during an industry preview of The Times’ annual Food Bowl, a monthlong festival of events that occurs every May.

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The section will be led by new Food Editor Peter Meehan, the co-founder and former editor of Lucky Peach magazine.

“A standalone section will give us the space to stretch out, to get weird, to go deeper and, simply, to do more to cover what’s happening in L.A. and beyond,” Meehan said.

Expanded cooking coverage will be a hallmark of the new section. To that end, The Times also announced two hires Tuesday: Genevieve Ko as cooking editor and Ben Mims as cooking columnist; both begin this month.

Ko is a cookbook author and has been a contributor to NYT Cooking, Bon Appétit and Gourmet. Mims is a recipe developer, editor and cookbook author, was formerly food editor at Saveur and a food editor at Food & Wine, and was the test kitchen director at Lucky Peach.

Andrea Chang, a longtime reporter and editor at The Times, was named deputy Food editor. And the paper announced that it had hired Rachel Schnalzer to be the audience engagement editor for Food; Schnalzer will manage the section’s social media channels. She joins The Times from BuzzFeed, where she produced, shot and edited videos and was also an editor at Snapchat.

The additions join a reinvigorated Food staff that has quadrupled in the last six months, including two new restaurant critics, Bill Addison and Patricia Escárcega. Beyond the standalone section, the staff will also produce several video series, new events and newsletters.

“We view Los Angeles as the nation’s food capital,” Executive Editor Norman Pearlstine said, “and the print section, which will serve as a weekly digest of our daily coverage, is an expression of our determination to provide the world’s best, most authoritative and comprehensive coverage of it.”

The relaunch of a print standalone section marks a homecoming of sorts. The Times introduced a separate Food section in 1962, on Thursdays. Thirty-five years later, it moved to Wednesdays before returning to Thursdays in 2010. Seven years ago, the section was folded into the Saturday section, which includes coverage of home, health and design.

“Southern California, where so many cultures and ingredients converge, is an incredibly exciting place for people who love to cook – and eat,” said Senior Deputy Managing Editor Kimi Yoshino. “In bringing back the Food section on Thursdays, our hope is that we’ll help readers get the most out of the produce they buy, the meals they prepare at home and their explorations of the rich variety of dining experiences throughout the region.”

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