Simon Thomsen may be about to lose his job as the co-editor of the Sydney Good Food Guide to make way for a star recruit, but he shouldn’t be too concerned because an old colleague would like to offer him a meal ticket over at News Limited.
The rumours which have been circulating for the last four months have now been all but confirmed. Terry Durack, the veteran food writer at London’s Independent, will be returning to Sydney to take up the editorial post at the Good Food Guide and to do the prestigious weekly review in The SMH’s Good Living section. He will be joined by his partner Jill Dupleix, who we believe will continue working for the Epicure section at Melbourne’s Age as well as writing for Good Living.
As recruitments go, it has been met with the sort of po-faced looks which only uptight foodies can manage, as if they’ve accidentally eaten a dog turd instead of a truffle. The resentment inside Fairfax is understandable. Durack, in all likelihood, will be earning a champagne salary while most of his Fairfax colleagues are making do on happy meals.
The appointments do seem a little unseemly. After all, the Fairfax papers are shedding staff, cutting costs and centralising their operations.
Meanwhile there’s speculation about the future at Fairfax for Simon Thomsen. Will he be asked to co-edit the Good Food Guide, alongside Durack, or will he be kept on a retainer to write scraps for Good Living?
At least it seems that the synergy of writing both the annual Good Food Guide as well as the weekly food reviews in Good Living will continue at the Sydney Morning Herald, unlike the Age which broke the nexus between its annual guide and Epicure some time ago.
And what of the other co-editor, Joanna Savill? Will she work alongside Durack or will she devote more time to the Sydney Food and Wine Festival?
And Jill Dupleix? Will she continue offering her fare at Epicure and Good Living while working as the Global Creative Director for the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival? And will she be allowed to continue writing for News Limited’s rival monthly Delicious Magazine?
Whatever happens, Simon Thomsen need not be too alarmed.
John Lethlean, the former editor of the Melbourne Good Food Guide until he resigned earlier this year, is now the editor of the expanded food and wine section of The Weekend Magazine at The Australian. He says Simon Thomsen is a “fantastic talent.” And he adds, “If I am in a position to take freelance contributions and Simon becomes available for freelance work at The Australian in a food and wine capacity, I’d snap him up in a flash. It’s a no brainer.”
So there you go Simon — take this humble Crikey piece into your boss’s office and show them how you’re in demand and negotiate hard for a better deal.