Bon Appetit may have food at its core, but this lifestyle magazine
covers the world of entertaining too. Claire Atkinson samples the
If you're preparing to pitch Bon Appetit, don't do it on an empty
The Conde Nast-owned title is packed full of luscious photographs of the
most mouthwatering meals. But if you're looking to make the editorial
team salivate over your pitch, you'd better have a copy of the magazine
handy. Your pitch will fall on deaf ears unless you know the regular
sections and keep apprised of the new ones.
The September issue - an annual restaurant special - has two top chefs
gracing its cover: Rafih Benjelloun of the Imperial Fez (Atlanta), and
Patricia Yeo of New York's AZ. It also includes reviews of hundreds of
eateries around the nation.
Open up the magazine, and you'll find Starters, which features new
books, movies about food, mini travel guides, and food- and wine-related
Starters, which is a couple of pages, is run by senior editor Kerri
Other regular features include "Bon Vivant," billed as great stuff from
chefs and restaurants around the country. It is edited by Gina Provenza,
and includes product mentions of cookware and table decorations.
This month, editor-in-chief Barbara Fairchild has made a slight change
to Bon Appetit's ingredients; there are more changes to come. The
September issue features a new item called "New at the Market," which
puts food products to the taste test. Next month (October) sees the
addition of "Every Night Cooking," which will feature quick and easy
recipes tried by the staff.
If you're pitching a food-related travel story, try Westenberg or
contributing editor Tricia Callas, and take note that May is the annual
destination issue. Send book releases to Fairchild.
While the economy is sending ad dollars downward for everyone, Bon
Appetit's subscription numbers continue to rise. According to the Audit
Bureau of Circulations, Bon Appetit's subscriber base grew 4.3%, from
1.23 million to 1.28 million.
"Our readership is largely female," explains the affable Fairchild. "Our
readers are people who want to cook well, travel, and be entertained. We
stress the pleasure of cooking, and we have stayed very contemporary,
approachable, and on top of the trends."
Bon Appetit, whose rivals include Gourmet, Food & Wine, and Saveur,
encourages readers to see food in a fun way. The September issue takes a
look at Vietnamese food through the eyes of four generations of women;
the Wines and Spirits section looks at what to drink with curries, while
a tools-of-the-trade feature focuses on low-tech cooking devices, like a
mortar and pestle.
Don't try shopping appointment announcements or daily news to Bon
Appetit, as the staff works six months in advance, and Fairchild says
they often work on four issues at the same time.
If you're sending information to the magazine, Fairchild says she
prefers a hard-copy press kit. Her advice to PR people who want to gain
their restaurants national recognition is to send menus and a bio of the
Bon Appetit has a small army of writers out there sampling and tasting
for the magazine. Tanya Steele writes much of the restaurant coverage,
while Westenberg coordinates it. "We pay for ourselves. We use different
writers who are not well known. That's the key to how we do the
magazine," says Fairchild.
Though she's well known, Fairchild says she doesn't have to go out in
disguise so that restaurants don't recognize her. Unlike Ruth Reichel,
the former New York Times restaurant writer, now editor at Gourmet, her
photo is unlikely to be pinned up in restaurant kitchens.
Fairchild has been with the title for 23 years, working her way up from
editorial assistant. She remembers the first-ever recipe mentioning the
use of a sun-dried tomato. Fairchild has also watched and documented a
move toward the use of more fresh ingredients in cooking.
In addition to its monthly print magazine, Bon Appetit produces books,
and is moving forward with plans to relaunch its website on November 1.
BonAppetit.com will look significantly different, though Fairchild
refuses to give details as of yet. The website is run by Charlotte
Butzin, and supplies recipes to sister site epicurious.com, run by Conde
Address: 6300 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048
Tel: (323) 965-3600
Fax: (323) 937-1206
Editor-in-chief: Barbara Fairchild
Executive editor: Victoria von Biel
Senior editors: Katie O'Kennedy, Tanya Wenman Steele, Kerri Westenberg,
Bonappetit.com: Charlotte Butzin.