The American wine-and-food world was stunned to learn today that the publisher Condé Nast was closing Gourmet magazine.
Since December 1940, the monthly has been a centerpiece of culinary journalism, and for some lifelong subscribers has been virtually a member of the family.
Although Gourmet, like other magazines as well as newspapers, has experienced a drastic falloff of advertising, readers did not expect it to be shuttered.
Condé Nast is keeping alive Bon Appétit, an in-house rival of Gourmet.
Gourmet’s circulation is 950,000. Bon Appétit’s 1.3m.
Gourmet’s wine coverage, especially during the long tenure of Gerald Asher, who was considered a distinguished essayist, was seen to be without peer in general-interest magazines.
After its current editor, Ruth Reichl, took over, the emphasis on wine seemed to be reduced.
That coverage continued under the drinks editor James Rodewald, with contributions from Asher.
The axe was expected to fall on several titles after Condé Nast brought in McKinsey & Company, a management consultant firm, to study its costs.
If a food magazine was to die, Bon Appétit, which is perhaps less prestigious than Gourmet, was considered the more likely victim.
Condé Nast is closing several other titles, two of them for brides.
An in-house memo from Condé Nast’s president, Charles Townsend, said, ‘Gourmet magazine will cease monthly publication, but we will remain committed to the brand, retaining Gourmet’s book publishing and television programming, and Gourmet recipes on Epicurious.com.
We will concentrate our publishing activities in the epicurean category on Bon Appétit.’
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Written by Howard G Goldberg in New York