Sad news today for foodies who have way too much time on their hands. Gourmet Magazine, the magazine that showed all of us hack-chef-wannabees that we had no chance of ever being any good, is going out of business. [I mean, seriously, look at that picture – who can possibly make that? It’s hard enough just ordering pizza.]
The print business is living a nightmare. Conde Nast also announced they are axing three other titles (Cookie, Modern Bride and Elegant Bride). The publishing business model, as it stands today, is truly fucked up but Gourmet has a different problem. It is a victim of its own name.
Gourmet is a top-notch magazine to be sure and its Editor-In-Chief Ruth Reichel is one of the classiest and most talented publishing executives in the business (and one hell of a good cook).
The problem with Gourmet, in this economic climate, is its title. The middle and lower income people that purchased a subscription for $1 an issue finally gave up on the dream of having 5-star restaurant food in their apartment. It just wasn’t practical in the overall scheme of things. It’s the equivalent of reading a copy of Yachting when you have no idea if you’re going to have a job next year – much less… a yacht. Scary stuff.
Bon Appetit and Food & Wine are scraping by (maybe) but only because their generic titles allow them to have cover stories like 10 (Great) Wines for Under $10 Bucks, and Feed Your Family For Less Than 5 Cents A Day. The best Gourmet could do was Eat Like A King On A Prince’s Salary (or something like that).
The good news is the website (which includes the fabulous Epicurious.com) and TV show will continue (I didn’t know there was a TV show – but good luck with that).
I wish the Ruth Reichl and her entire staff the best of luck as they try to move forward. It’s a fucked up world and nothing is fair right now.
Once we start extending the OnMedea brand into the food & wine area, I’ll be looking for a few good writers. But you may need to learn how to make a grilled cheese first.
Jill Kennedy – OnMedea