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Mar 22, 2011 04:44 PM

What's Going On At Bon Appetit? When Will Changes Come?

Is it just me or is Bon Appetit going downhill with every issue?

I mourned the loss of Gourmet and had hopes Bon Appetit would improve. I know there were changes in editor(s) and lots of other staff. I'd heard new things were coming soon. But, when is soon? I did some quick searches and all I could come up with was the hiring of the new editor, but no timeline.

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  1. you know, i got "transferred" to bon appetit after gourmet's demise, and apparently my subscription has run out. i didn't even notice the loss until you mentioned this topic. ;-).

    hey, by the way, gourmet's website is still up...and they're offering a super "italian gourmet kitchen" publication, $12.98.

    1. They recently moved to Manhattan from Southern California. Too bad, we have more than enough food magazines with a New York state of mind.

      1. Wintersummer, They seemed to have jumped the shark. It's not that just the content is bad, but page design is terrible with weak photography. (If they submitted the current issue for a design class they would get an "F.") As you observe the demise of certain businesses you can see it coming; with Bon Appetit the handwriting is on the wall. Will they listen, will they change? Nope, it's a fate they have stubbornly chosen.

        12 Replies
        1. re: Leper

          I think it's part of the general malaise over the magazine industry as a whole. It's been in dire straights lately, with most brands likely to perish, at least in their current forms.

          1. re: Cherveny

            i still like southern living, garden & gun magazine and real simple. i'm hooked into traditional homes, and actually, better homes & gardens or woman's day are't bad at all. i also get wine spectator, but that is a bit too much overalll for my budget-sense.

            1. re: alkapal

              Woman's Day is now edited by Elizabeth Mayhew, who came over from Real Simple. I think you'll start to see a more sophisticated flavor there. Bon Appetit continues to get thinner and weaker, and its making Food & Wine look like a much more robust publication. I still maintain that given a choice between the two, publishers should have laid Bon Appetit to rest, and put their best efforts back into Gourmet. In terms of taking me to places I still want to go, Saveur now fills that gap completely. The photography alone is worth the cover price (Penny De Los Santos rules!)

              1. re: Cheflambo

                Seems like the May issue (The Italian issue) did bring some changes, but in a very derivative direction. They are clearly cribbing from Saveur---note photo of "authentic" (i.e. overweight) Italian woman holding tray of home-made tagliatelle--as well as *blatantly* ripping off Chowhound content in the pasta-sauce how -to piece. They say "Sorry, but you've been getting it all wrong," which is pretty much verbatim (not including the "sorry" part) from a regular online Chowhound feature, which included very similar pasta tips. Then they add annoying "in-the-know" features such as a text-messaging couple with kids improvising a 'baked-potato bar" dinner. Yikes! Desperate much?

                1. re: bella_sarda

                  "They say "Sorry, but you've been getting it all wrong,""

                  I found that article to be particularly offensive, even though the pure content was pretty good in parts. The snarky college-dude-speak style was a stupid touch. Then they outdid themselves the next month with Gwyneth Paltrow (The Other White Meat?) on the cover.

              2. re: alkapal

                garden & gun, huh? that's a new one to me!

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  quality publication. making sense is the person who turned me on to it.

                  1. re: alkapal

                    well, anything with "gun" in the title definitely isn't for me...but i'm surprised i never encountered it when i was living in Georgia.

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      it is relatively new.
                      the most dangerous place for a law-abiding citizen is in a "gun-free zone." ;-).

                      1. re: alkapal

                        it's dangerous no matter what! i've been mugged at gunpoint in NYC, and narrowly escaped a carjacking in LA, and i'm still here to talk about it...and in neither case would it have helped for me to be packing. in fact, had i pulled a weapon, it might have gotten me killed. just sayin...

                        but back OT...i looked at the G&G website out of curiosity, and the other (non-gun related) content does look good.

                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      A friend of mine brought me a couple of issues of Garden & Gun a few months back. It seems to be well-produced, but I have less and less time for magazines these days.

              3. I also sort of replaced Gourmet with Saveur. I kind of thought Bon Appetit is slipping--but thought that was just my opinion until I saw this. I just got a renewal notice, I may not go for it.

                1. the most recent issue of BA is the worst yet...the design changes are awful. that pointless icon in the upper left corner of each page in the "starters" section is distracting and clunky, and the photography has definitely gone downhill.

                  i usually sit down and read my food mags from cover to cover when they arrive...this one has been on the table for over a week and i'm still only about 2/3 of the way through it.

                  7 Replies
                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      Agreed, so glad to come on here and find out I'm not the only one that felt so let down by this latest issue. I found some pages almost impossible to read, they were so busy with bad photos and too many fonts. Magazines will do better if they show off the ways they can be better than the internet, rather than trying to be a paper version of the internet.

                      1. re: centralpadiner

                        I found some pages almost impossible to read, they were so busy with bad photos and too many fonts.
                        yes! at first i thought they gave Andrew Knowlton the boot because i didn't see his "BA Foodist" column anywhere...turns out it was buried among product review pages - all with the same hideous faux-vintage/old-style font.

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          Actually, wasn't sure it was still him, since that feature was so minimized in the latest issue, it also took me a second read through to find it. Frustrating, to say the least. I know that times are hard, but I feel like quality is diminishing in so many things, some days I just wonder where it will stop.

                          1. re: centralpadiner

                            Maybe it's a result of being too old and having bought and read too many annual "Italy" issues of food magazines, but this BA issue is notable for its clumsy look, simplistic and tired tone and content, and desperate attempt to catchup to a sensibility they think the rest of the media world wants.

                            1. re: bob96

                              You said it better than me. I refuse to believe the "too old" part ;) but have definitely read too many Italy issues. Either way, our description of the issue is spot on.