Gourmet Lives! ‘Pity’ Says Ruth Reichl

Conde Nast is bringing Gourmet back in the form of an app. Sign Up For Our Daily Newsletter Sign Up

Conde Nast is bringing Gourmet back in the form of an app.

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It’s an experiment for Conde Nast: They’ll take a magazine they folded (because they said it lost too much money) and replace the printed product and the employees they laid off there with a big internet community. And the Gourmet archives.

The “Gourmet Live” app won’t launch until the fall, but you can take a look at a demo at live.gourmet.com.

The application will rely mostly on the archives of the Gourmet brand. In a demo shown to reporters this morning, we found the legendary “Consider the Lobster” story by David Foster Wallace, and a video of a recipe with John Doc Willoughby, the former executive editor. There’s a decades-worth of content, but we wonder if it’ll feel — pardon the expression — a little stale after a while.

Ruth Reichl, the editor of Gourmet from 1999 to 2009, was not at the press conference. At the briefing, her name wasn’t uttered once. On her twitter this morning, Ms. Reichl wrote, “they’re reviving the brand, not the magazine. Pity.”

It’s a logical experiment for Conde Nast. If they’re going to to try to create a digital enterprise, why not make it (1) food-related, where, according to Conde Nast, 60 million uniques a month are trawling the web in search of food content and (2) use a brand name that’s so iconic?

Ca-ching! Thank you very much, if you will,” said Conde Nast CEO Chuck Townsend, at one point in today’s press conference describing the success of Wired‘s app for the iPad.

Mr. Townsend was sporting a blue blazer, a nice buttondown and a healthy tan (Bob Sauerberg, the Conde Nast group president who also spoke, wore a nearly identical outfit).

Mr. Townsend obviously hopes there will be a similar success with this app. He said this is a technology and revenue play for the company, and said specifically it’s not a magazine or a digitized version of the magazine.

You’ll be able to download the app for free, but then you’ll be paying for things along the way (everyone was particularly excited about virtual currency). You can check out recipes, videos, stories and you’ll also be able to take a look at a map and Gourmet reviews of a particular restaurant along the way.

But as Mr. Townsend emphasized — and which was reiterated by their partners at Activate, a technology consulting company — this is all about making a web business, even if it is creating a new one by using all the leftovers.


Gourmet Lives! ‘Pity’ Says Ruth Reichl