Darla Guillen Takes Over Eater After Eric Sandler Moves to CultureMap

Categories: News

darlaericeater.jpg
Photos from @DarlaGuillen and @esandler
He's been called the Perez Hilton of the Houston food scene due to his sometimes gossipy coverage at Eater, but Eric Sandler insists he's ready to be a full-time journalist now at CultureMap. The void he's left in coverage at Eater was filled quickly by Darla Guillen, who confirmed Friday that she had been hired as the new Houston editor.

Sandler became the Houston editor of Eater 14 months ago, and in that time, he developed a loyal (and catty) following due to his quick coverage of food news and his willingness to piss some people off in the process. Guillen comes to Eater after working as a freelancer for Eating Our Words and for CultureMap.

So Guillen and Sandler kind of did a switcheroo.

We weren't able to reach Guillen for a comment, but Sandler was happy to chat with us about his new position at CultureMap.

"When I started at Eater 14 months ago, the idea of being a professional journalist or writer was something that sounded like fun to me but not something I'd ever done before," Sandler says. "So the position was kind of a way to figure out if I could write every day, enjoy it and be good at it. I think after a year, I definitely enjoy it and I'm definitely good at it."

Sandler is excited to be working full time now for CultureMap, as his job at Eater was only part time (though you wouldn't know it by the number of stories he churned out every day). He says the biggest adjustment since starting at CultureMap on July 29 is having to get out of bed, get ready for work and be at the office downtown by 9 a.m. Because he was the only person working for Eater out of Houston, he blogged from home, so the new job means less time with his beloved dogs and more time in the office.

He's optimistic about the future of Eater Houston and of local food writing. To announce his departure from Eater, Sandler wrote:

"This is your editor, Eric Sandler. I'm here to bid Eater readers a fond farewell. Starting on Monday, I'm heading to CultureMap. It's been a real privilege to chronicle Houston's dining scene these past 14 months, and I hope I've kept y'all entertained and informed. Thanks in particular to all of you who have commented, tweeted, liked and subscribed to the newsletter. For my ramblings on Houston's sports teams and pictures of my dogs, follow me on Twitter."

When we asked him what he thought about the future of Eater, he said diplomatically, "I think Eater going to hire a new editor and they're going to build on what I've started, and it's going to be great."

I don't know about you, but I miss the old snarky Eric Sandler. Darla, time to start practicing your acrimonious banter.

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7 comments
43Fermi
43Fermi

Kudos Darla, honey!! I suspect you'll be a knockout in this new role as a little stint at CultureMap is the sine qua non of credible gossip ; )) and I suspect you'll still be able to place and credit some of our products, just in a new setting: restaurants around Houston. Thanks in advance and good luck!

Vandalia
Vandalia

In addition to having perfected live action shots of himself, Eric has been one of the city's most prolific re-packagers of press releases. He's a groundbreaking journalist in the sense that he has the temerity to include many of the press releases that inspire and nurture his stories; only a great stylist would do that! And oh, what an advocate for transparency! 

With CultureMap's unrivaled coverage of hemlines and social harrumphs, who could be better suited than Eric to deliver the packaged goods in a lively and refreshing manner. This is truly a historic day in Houston Journalism!

D.Guillen
D.Guillen

I want to clarify that I will still be keeping all freelance writing and PR clients that are not related to bars and restaurants. That includes CultureMap. 

e_sandler
e_sandler

@Vandalia The press release thing is too stupid to merit a response, but I feel obligated to clarify what's happening in that picture, since people seem to think I'm taking a picture of myself. I was pointing my phone at a beautiful roast pig that had just come off a spit. I don't take selfies. Not how I roll. 

FWIW, I'm not sure my changing jobs merits this sort of press attention. I certainly don't remember reading any similar posts on other outlets when I started at Eater last year. However, Kaitlin called me, and she was really great about talking to me when she got the job as HP's new critic. I figured professional courtesy meant I owed her. 

Bordella
Bordella

@e_sandler @Vandalia 

I would say you have it backwards: the photo thing doesn't merit comment, but the point about recycling press releases was spot on and really just part of your job as an Eater aggregator. And it will be part of your job even more so at CultureMap, but I'm betting you won't include the original releases like you did at Eater. Good luck to you sir.

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