MEDIA PROFILE: Creating a scrumptious dish for Bon Appetit: justadd spice

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. 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, run by Conde



Bon Appetit

Address: 6300 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048

Tel: (323) 965-3600

Fax: (323) 937-1206

E-mail: firstinitiallastname@


Editor-in-chief: Barbara Fairchild

Executive editor: Victoria von Biel

Senior editors: Katie O'Kennedy, Tanya Wenman Steele, Kerri Westenberg,

Sarah Tenaglia. Charlotte Butzin.

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