It’s no understatement to call Bon Appetit editor-in-chief Barbara Fairchild “one of the most watched women in food publishing” following the demise of Gourmet. The L.A. Times does just that while observing Fairchild over lunch at West Hollywood’s Cecconi’s. Fairchild is well aware that someone has moved the foodie cheese from print to digital and hints that along with expanded blog coverage, a dessert cookbook, and a mail-order wine and recipe pairing program, a T.V. show could be in the works for the magazine.
Despite being a globe-trotting executive with a seat at every table, Fairchild’s (and Bon Appetit’s, for that matter) greatest asset could be her common touch. As a youth, her favorite recipe involved rolling frankfurters inside of pizza, now she has a taste for the $1.50 soda and hot dog deal at Costco. TV producer Stephen Tao defends Fairchild against charges of food snobbery by saying, “as much of a foodie as she is and the high circles she runs in, she also is very much a food lover of all kinds.” As the window into food culture continues to widen and let everybody in, keeping Bon App attractive to the food populist (and in competition with Food Network Magazine and Food & Wine) might be its secret to longevity.