Condé Nast pulls plug on Gourmet magazine

Gourmet, the nation?s oldest food magazine is being

Gourmet, the nation’s oldest food magazine is being closed by Conde Nast Publications. (Oct. 5, 2009) (Credit: Getty Images)

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When John Durkin, chef-owner of Trattoria Diane in Roslyn, was in his 20s and the idea of owning a fine restaurant was decades in the future, Gourmet magazine offered a window into another world.

"I thought it was such an elegant magazine," he said, "with all those places in France and Italy -- and the recipes always worked."

Durkin still gets Gourmet, but November's issue will be his last. A memo issued Monday by Condé Nast chief executive Chuck Townsend stated that Gourmet, which began publishing in 1940, will cease monthly publication.

According to Townsend, Condé Nast remains committed to the Gourmet brand, "retaining Gourmet's book publishing and television programming, and Gourmet recipes on Epicurious.com."

Just last month, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt published "Gourmet Today: More than 1000 All-New Recipes for the Contemporary Kitchen," a cookbook edited by the magazine's editor, Ruth Reichl -- perhaps the most prominent food editor in the country.

In addition to Gourmet, wrote Townsend, Cookie (launched in 2007 and self-described as "a lifestyle magazine for the modern mother"), Modern Bride and Elegant Bride will cease publication. However, Brides will increase its frequency from bimonthly to monthly.

Gourmet's sales of ad pages had been steadily declining. The September figures, announced in July, were down 52 percent from a year ago.

Bon Appétit, Condé Nast's other heavy-hitting food magazine, will continue to be published. Its September figures were reported to be down only 40 percent.

Bon Appétit also has a higher circulation (1.4 million as compared to Gourmet's 978,000, according to Condé Nast's September 2009 media kit), higher household income ($83,563 as compared to $81,179) and lower median age (49 as opposed to 50.3).

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