Media Rumblings

New Houston magazine to be more food than chef driven: No gossip, just good eats

New Houston magazine to be more food than chef driven: No gossip here

"Telling the story of food is telling the story of humanity," said David Leftwich, the passionate home cook and adoptive Houstonian who will helm the city's newest food magazine, Sugar and Rice.

The writer-editor is partnering with Down House partners Chris Cusack and Joey Treadway and head chef Benjy Mason on the publication, whose name was inspired by lines from a Walt Whitman poem. The idea came about, Cusack tells CultureMap, because they saw stories that needed telling but weren't able to fit within the framework of existing media.

"When we were starting up Down House, Benjy and I visited farmers and ranchers and learned that they all felt so strongly about what they did for so many different reasons, and not always ones you'd expect," Cusack says.

Leftwich, for his part, says that he has built a community of writers and artists, chefs and farmers during his 10 years in Houston. The magazine has become a tangible collaboration between them all.

 Don't look for content to center around the comings and goings of restaurants and chefs. Do expect testimonials from folks with a passion for their vocations. 

It's inevitable that a quarterly food magazine run by restaurateurs will be compared to Lucky Peach, the McSweeney's-published journal from Momofuku chef David Chang, but Leftwich insisted that Sugar and Rice will be different, less focused on the chef culture. 

"I see us being more ingredient driven," he says, excusing the metaphor, while acknowledging that the quarterly is still a work in progress. "And it may kind of stay that way," he laughs.

Don't look for content to center around the comings and goings of restaurants and chefs. Do expect testimonials from figures like fishmonger PJ Stoops, the Shrimp Boat Projects guys and Lisa and Christian Seger, the goat-rearing couple behind Blue Heron Farm — all folks with a passion for their vocations.

The magazine will be Houston-centric with an emphasis on the Gulf Coast region. The publishers point out that the inaugural issue — due out in September — is slated to feature a story on Topo Chico out of Mexico and another from New Orleans.

An online component and regular sponsored events will supplement the quarterly, designed by Heights-based firm Always Creative and eventually available by subscription (around $30 annually) and on select newsstands.