Gourmet Magazine’s Reign Ends Abruptly

Renowned food magazine shuts down

Image from Flikr.

Image from Flikr.

Gourmet Magazine has been around for nearly 70 years, but that will no longer be the case. Famous chef, food TV personality and author Anthony Bourdain called Gourmet Magazine “the center of gravity” of the food publication industry, according to The Los Angeles Times at http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/wire/sns-ap-us-fea-food-goodbye-gourmet,0,5038590.story.

“It’s certainly the grand dame of food magazines,” said Tim Ryan, president of the Culinary Institute of America. “We’ll never see the likes of a Gourmet magazine in that form again.”

Months ago, when rumors began to circulate that owner Conde Nast would shut down one of its major food magazines, Paul Jowdy, publisher of the in-house rival Bon Appetit, said those rumors were ridiculous. “If you think of two of the most prestigious, credible, trusted magazines in the industry, you’re going to say Bon Appetit and Gourmet,” Jowdy said.

Gourmet Magazine editor ‘stunned’

Food industry leaders, including heads of other food magazines, agree with Jowdy. When rumors spread, most people speculated that Bon Appetit, not Gourmet Magazine, would get the ax if anyone did. The reason for closing Gourmet Magazine could be anything from needing emergency cash loans to interoffice politics, but one thing is for sure: The news of Gourmet Magazine closing comes as a shock to all.

Even the people who work for the magazine were surprised. Editor Ruth Reichl, whom the L.A. Times calls “a doyenne of the food world” posted this on Twitter:

Thank you all SO much for this outpouring of support. It means a lot. Sorry not to be posting now, but I’m packing. We’re all stunned, sad.

No place for Gourmet in economy?

Long before the recession, the print publication industry was in trouble. Since, the recession hit, newspapers and magazines have been shutting down left and right. Though some economic indicators show that things are changing for the better, the closing of Gourmet Magazine signals that the end of the recession won’t mean the end of the print publication industry’s troubles.

The recession has made things worse for the print industry, but the root of the problem lies in more and more people going to the Internet for the information they used to get from print. It’s surprising that Conde Nast is shutting down what the New York Times calls “a magazine of almost biblical status,” but I fear these types of announcements will only multiply.

Other Conde Nast publications shut down

Gourmet Magazine wasn’t the only Conde Nast magazine to get shut down. Modern Bride and Elegant Bride — offshoots of the larger Brides magazine — also will be shutting down. Parenting magazine Cookie, which started in 2005, will also shut down.

Conde Nast shut down other publications earlier this year, including business magazine Portfolio and homes magazine Domino. Though the closing of Gourmet Magazine comes at the completion of a three month study by McKinsey & Company, I doubt this casualty will mark Conde Nast’s last.