On Tuesday February 12th, Dave Lane and Marina Tweed of food and culture journal The Gourmand delivered a talk in the YCN Shop & Library.
Dave began by recounting the origins of The Gourmand. He explained how he and Marina were eager to merge their very separate work lives by collaborating on a project together. Their combined experience in production management, editorial and design meant a magazine was the perfect platform through which to present their interests.
Food, Dave suggested, was not simply a shared passion, but a catalyst to discuss many other exciting ideas. Furthermore, to his knowledge, there were no other creative food journals out there. What better way to set things off then, than to host a dinner for all their creative and culinary friends, many of whom became contributors to the successful pilot issue.
He proceeded to discuss the current issue, explaining how its literary food theme developed organically. A meeting with restaurateur Mark Hix led to Dave and Marina discover a library of beautiful old books above his bustling restaurant. As such, reviews of the books fell comfortably into place alongside photographs of Hix and his collection. Dave explained how one featured book, The Compleat Imbiber, uses wine as “an excuse” to write on a cornucopia of other subjects, and added that in this way, content, writing, and imagery in The Gourmand expands far beyond gastronomy to support each contributor’s independent storytelling. In one feature, food blends into fashion as the sensibilities of jewellery design and styling meet fine fare and photography. In another, art collector Natasha Hoare interviews cook and curator Valeria Napoleone over risotto, wine and feminist discussion. And a piece on Amelia Newton Whitelaw not only applies dough to sculptural design, but also supports Benjamin McMahon’s accompanying photo essay.
Dave described how photographers and illustrators are pivotal to the publication, and how, as with the editorial contributors, a free reign makes for riveting results. Gustav Almestål’s sensually suggestive photographs, as seen on the cover, have provoked quite a reaction, whilst New-York based Paolo Di Lucente uses documentary style to bring a timeless filmic finesse to a series of archetypal Manhattan diners. The featured illustrators, including Jamie Brown, Yann Le Bec and Paul Davis, also offer bold and diverse styles, whether exploring unusual ingredients (such as whale ambergris) or depicting rude snippets overheard in restaurants.
Dave concluded with details of The Gourmand’s debut exhibition, which will showcase some of the photographs and illustrations featured in the issue. It is clear that both David and Marina have truly enjoyed choosing who they work with and giving each feature the attention it deserves, as David emphasised, “if it takes up all your time, it has to be something you enjoy”.
At the end of the evening guests were treated to a slice of Rita’s Lime Pie, kindly prepared by Phoebe Flynn Oliver. The recipe is included in the index of issue No.1, along with others commissioned from contributors – but I think I will just get in the queue for Rita’s.
Join YCN today to find out more about other talks and events we will be hosting in the future.
Written by Kitty Knowles.
Location:72 Rivington Street,
London, EC2A 3AY,
Start:12th February, 2013 at 6:30pm
End:12th February, 2013 at 8:00pm