It’s been a year to the day that Condé Nast announced that they were folding Gourmet. Former editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl commemorated the anniversary with pancakes, tweeting, “Foggy, melancholy morning. Gourmet’s end one year today. Fat fluffy pancakes, drizzled maple syrup, crisp smoky Benton’s bacon. Full.” We’re honoring the somber day with a look at where the mag’s major players have landed in the past twelve months. (New Grub Street network editor Alan Sytsma once worked there before its demise, but he assures us he was definitely not a major player.) We considered assessing their new lives — Better off? Worse off? Call it a draw? — but really, compared to the way Condé’s food properties are going, they’re all winners.
Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief
America’s most beloved food editor spent a year eating fabulously and tweeting about it. Last week she announced her new relationship with Random House, where she’ll be an editor-at-large and also churn out three books over the next few years.
Lawrence Karol, Managing Editor
After a six-month tenure as the executive managing editor at W, Karol jumped ship in September to be the managing editor at Architectural Digest, part of the design mag’s masthead overhaul in conjunction with its move from L.A. to New York.
John “Doc” Willoughby, Executive Editor
The longtime America’s Test Kitchen contributor, and former Cook’s Illustrated executive editor, went back to a full-time gig there. He’s hitting the road on a tour to support his latest, The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook.
Kemp M. Minifie, Executive Food Editor
The former Test Kitchen overlord returned to the brand, overseeing Gourmet’s repackaged, special-edition one-offs. She’s also a contributor to AOL’s Epicurious-esque home-cooking and recipes site, KitchenDaily, under supervision of editor-in-chief Cheryl Brown, herself a former Gourmet editor. (A handful of other Gourmet folks also landed at KitchenDaily, including senior editor Jane Daniels Lear, and food editor Gina Marie Miraglia Eriquez.)
Richard Ferretti, Creative Director
Shortly after Gourmet folded, Ferretti joined the team at Coach — the leather-goods company — where he’s the senior vice-president and creative director of both Coach and their new super-luxury brand Reed Krakoff. (Former Gourmet special projects editor Jacqueline Terrebonne is also at Coach, as a senior accounts manager.)
William Sertl, Travel Editor
Dropping the travel beat pretty much entirely, in December Sertl was named New York editor of BlackBoardEats.com, a TastingTable clone. He’s called on his old Gourmet pals for content: Reichl and Willoughby, among others, have made cameo appearances in his daily newsletters.
Francis Lam, Contributing Editor
Lam was one of the first ex-Gourmet staffers to land a new gig, hired almost immediately by Salon.com to run their food vertical.
Sari Lehrer, Articles Editor
Lehrer jumped in bed with Martha Stewart, taking an editor-at-large role in charge of food content at WholeLiving.com, Stewart’s online portal for mom-types.
Colman Andrews, Contributing Editor
The Saveur founding editor wrote a biography of Ferran Adrià, Ferran, for which he’s about to start on a big promotional tour. He was also tapped as the editorial director of the Daily Meal, former Forbes.com CEO Jim Spanfeller’s food site that’s scheduled to launch October 15.
Condé Nast, Magazine Conglomerate
Almost a year after tanking Gourmet, Condé still hasn’t figured out exactly what their food strategy is: Attempts to sustain the Gourmet brand have been met with less than positive receptions, mostly thanks to the deep sense of betrayal that the magazine’s readers felt in response to its unceremonious shuttering. (Though if the Gourmet Live iPad app can make good on its promise of consistently new content — at before-the-fall levels of quality — it stands a chance of earning back some of the lost goodwill.) By hauling Bon Appétit’s operations to New York from its longtime home in L.A., Condé’s other food magazine didn’t just lose longtime editor-in-chief Barbara Fairchild, it lost its editorial identity. Bon App seems likely to be reborn as a wholly new editorial enterprise that just happens to have the title of an established magazine known, for much of its life, as “that food magazine that isn’t Gourmet.”
The company’s great hope, food-wise, is Epicurious.com: The site pitches itself as an aggregation of recipes from Gourmet and Bon App archives, but as far as readers are concerned, it’s essentially an independent content provider (do you really care which magazine your recipe for chile-lime tilapia came from?). Editor-in-chief Tanya Steel is one of those rare senior-level editors who seems to really understand how the Internet works — now all Condé needs is to start listening to her.