The new restaurant editor for Food & Wine magazine is a Texan: Raphael Brion.

The Austin-based food writer posted this notice on his Instagram account on January 5: “I got a new gig! Restaurant Editor at @foodandwine, where I’ll get to work on the annual and iconic Best New Chefs list. . . . I still get to live in Austin, but I’ll be hitting the road a ton in search of the best new chefs and restaurants in America.”

Inclusion on the list of Best New Chefs that Brion will supervise is regarded as one of the most prestigious accolades in the restaurant community nationwide. Texans have frequently been part of it. The most recent roundup, representing ten restaurants and published last September, included Edgar Rico of Nixta Taqueria, in Austin, and Emmanuel Chavez of Tatemó, in Houston. The previous Food & Wine restaurant editor, Khushbu Shah, has become a contributing editor. 

Brion’s résumé is tailor-made for his new job, starting early in Belgium, where he was born. In an email, he said, “I was taught to love restaurants from an early age. And I have distinct memories of going to the iconic brasserie Aux Armes De Bruxelles with my grandmother, where she had a standing lunch reservation every Saturday. All the Belgian classics: filet américain, sole meunière, carbonnade, moules-frites, tableside crêpe flambée. She knew all the waiters, they would greet her with a coupe of Champagne. It was like that scene in Goodfellas. My grandmother was also a great cook, and she’d haggle at the farmers markets for the best deal. And my parents are avid travelers, so they’d drag me and my brother all over the world.”

Brion came to the United States as a child and grew up in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, approximately twenty miles north of Manhattan. As an adult, he had several food-related jobs. He was a designer at the recipe-and-cooking-oriented website Serious Eats. He was the editor of Eater National, and he spent time cooking in Michelin-starred restaurants in New York City.

He moved to Austin in 2012 and, except for a brief period back in New York in 2014 and 2015, has lived there ever since. In 2021 he became an Austin reviewer for the Infatuation, a restaurant recommendation website covering dozens of cities in the United States. Asked what a typical day was like, he replied via email, “I was eating out around five nights a week, but some evenings I’d end up trying to check out as many new places as possible, and I’d cobble together a meal by visiting a few different spots. There were some epic breakfast taco crawls in Austin where I’d hit seven spots in a morning. Topo Chico helps. It’s important to hydrate.”

He wrote short reviews as well as longer stories like “The Toughest Reservations in Austin Right Now (And How To Get Them)” and “Where To Eat With Vegetarians In Austin.” Generally he stuck to positive recommendations, but on occasion he could be a bit dyspeptic. One of his last posts took aim at Sushi Bar ATX: “This omakase-only East Austin spot over-accessorizes with foams, shaved truffles, everything bagel seasoning, kelp-cured butter, and even Terry Black’s Barbecue sauce. The nigiri is gimmicky, and, ultimately, overblown, expensive, and not very good.”

As Food & Wine’s restaurant editor, he said he will be writing about food and restaurant culture: “I’ll be traveling a fair amount, traversing the country, and immersing myself in research” for the Best New Chefs list, which started in 1988. He said he won’t be the sole writer contributing to the list, but he acknowledged that a lot of eating will be necessary. “For me personally,” he said, “it helps that I am a marathon runner and put in upwards of 75 miles a week. I am, in fact, pretty hungry most of the time.”

Brion, who is 46, also has a Texas Monthly connection. For several months in 2021, he helped edit the magazine’s online Dining Guide reviews. In addition, his girlfriend is Austin food writer and cookbook author Paula Forbes, who is a frequent Texas Monthly contributor.