The Australian poaches popular Melbourne foodies

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 2nd February 2009

News Limited’s national newspaper, The Australian, has reported a coup in gaining the services of John Lethlean and Necia Wilden, formerly of The Age.

John Lethlean – Melbourne’s most renowned food critic and a key contributor to Epicure as well as The Age’s Saturday supplement and monthly Melbourne magazine – and Necia Wilden – deputy editor of the Epicure section – both tendered their resignations in December and rumours about their futures have been swirling ever since.

The Australian has advised today that the former Fairfax duo, who were also the co-editors of Melbourne’s most popular restaurant guide – The Age Good Food Guide, will again team in an expanded food and wine section for the Weekend Australian Magazine. They will begin as editors of the section on April 18.

Mr Lethlean told The Australian that he and Wilden felt as if they no longer received the support they deserved. “I was doing all this work for the organisation but there was no sense Necia and myself were valuable individuals who should be exploited well and looked after well, and that got to us in the end,” he said.

“The Age is going through extraordinarily difficult times; the whole of Fairfax is,” Wilden added. “It made us feel it was time to move on. And the time is right for the food industry in Australia to have national coverage.”

Lethlean becomes the first national restaurant reviewer in a decade, according to The Australian.