Last week during the IACP convention in New York City, I had the good fortune to go with a group to visit two major food magazines. The first was Food & Wine, which I loved and posted about already. The second, featured here and equally as spectacular, is Saveur.
As you can see, the gleaming, comfortably contemporary kitchen is light-flooded and huge. It’s also filled with the energy of a busy yet laid- back and friendly staff. At right above is Todd Coleman, the executive food editor, and the current crop of young interns who come for three month stints to work and learn.
Todd briefly shared with us Saveur’s approach to cooking and food: “We’re about great home cooks and their stories, not about chefs,” he says. “But we never dumb down. And we’re not into convenience products.” He adds that the magazine is “art driven,” noting that every recipe published is accompanied by a photograph. He emphasizes that the focus is on food that’s good and timeless, not on trends that come and go.
That’s our little group drinking a wine punch and listening to the kitchen director Kelly Evans (shown below right), who says the recipe testing process is pretty straightforward: “We test as many times as it takes–we keep going until we think the food is right. Though the kitchen may look intimidating, she and Todd both stress that nothing is called for that the home cook couldn’t have and use. If recipes requiring “weird” ingredients can’t be adapted to accommodate what’s available to home cooks, “we don’t run them,” Todd says.
Todd, Kelly, and associate food editor Ben Mims do most of the food styling right in the test kitchen, using a mix of natural, tungsten and strobe light. Todd says he likes photos that present “mini-scenes,” as these can help amplify the story told in the text. “Practically everybody” on the staff likes to write and takes on story assignments, he says. “We have a habit of doing it ourselves!”
His advice to freelance writers interested in pitching articles: Start with queries for the “Ingredient,” “Classic,” “Source,” or other shorter features at the front of the book. “Tell us what’s your expertise, what’s your personal connection to the food. What is it you in particular have to tell our readers?”