Conde Nast announced today that it will shutter Gourmet, the much-beloved magazine that's been serving a mix of high-end recipes and high-brow culinary essays since 1940. (Cookie and Modern Bride are also getting axed, but let's just say the resulting shock is significantly less for both titles).
Diminished ad pages and pricey writers may have sealed the print magazine's fate, but what can Conde do to keep the venerable brand alive? We thought of a few ideas:
Conquer the Boob Tube: A move to television is already in the works, with a new show debuting mid-month. "Gourmet's Adventures with Ruth" will follow editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl as she globe-hops to cooking schools with culinary rock stars. Reichl is a major draw--she has released four books to broad acclaim--and the Food Network's strong ratings show there's a strong public appetite for watching shows about food.
Move into Travel: Many mouth-watering essays in Gourmet follow food writers to distant lands to explore exotic culinary traditions. So why not send mag fans packing as well, with Gourmet-branded travel trips?
Tie it to Retail: Gourmet is already sold on the magazine racks of upscale and organic food purveyors like Whole Foods. Why not fold the title into the company? It would keep the magazine alive and up the grocery store's culinary cred. (We can already see the easy endcap displays for grab-and-go recipe needs.)
Turn the Brand Over to the Fans: Wiki recipes are gaining ground online, despite concerns that too many cooks can spoil the broth. Would a massive Gourmet-branded wiki site sate fans' hunger for the curated content--or feed it?
We know we've only scratched the surface. Who can think of other ways to keep the Gourmet brand going?