Star-studded party fetes relaunch of food magazine

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Indy Lifestyle Online

In the publishing landscape where food titles are in constant competition for readers, a 55-year stalwart is hoping a new leader and complete redesign will help it keep - and win - new market share.

The relaunch of Bon Appétit magazine was feted by a crew of stars and celebrity chefs at New York's Minetta Tavern this week to celebrate the May cover that's on US and Canadian newsstands now.

The guest list included Gwyneth Paltrow - who is rumored to be on the cover of the June issue - and celebrity chefs Daniel Boulud, Tom Colicchio and David Chang.

At 55-years-old, Bon Appétit has been a stalwart in the food magazine industry, especially among female readers with a median age of 49 and a household income of $100,000. But the new editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport says though it will continue to be for home cooks, the new version will also be more topical, edgier and borrow some star power along the way.

The current issue, for example, features an inside look at New York chef David Chang's new iPad app Lucky Peach, a quarterly food journal, and an essay by chef-writer du jour, Gabrielle Hamilton, author of Blood Bones & Butter.

In an interview with Women's Wear Daily , Rapoport - who comes from GQ where he was a style editor - said the pillars of the magazine will remain the same: solid, tested recipes, cooking techniques and strong visual photography.

But he also acknowledged that his role will mean managing the Bon Appétit brand with help from TV associations - a formula that's been a recipe for success for other publications like Food & Wine Magazine, which is associated with Bravo's Top Chef, and Hearst's Food Network Magazine, WWD notes.

Parent company Condé Nast is putting all their gourmet eggs in the Bon Appétit basket after having to close sister food magazine Gourmet in 2009 due to a decline in advertising sales. The brand continues, however, to appear on their food site Epicurious.

Rapoport is also hoping to bring in male readers (the publication is predominantly read by women) pull in readers from food blogs and tap into pop culture for content, he said.

In his first issue, the May cover features a simple bowl of spaghetti as the magazine's thematic ode to all things Italia. Stories include Italian desserts, how to make the perfect pasta, and an inside look at fashion house Missoni and how the designers dine together as a family - a byproduct of Rapoport's stint as a style editor.

Photos of the New York launch party can be seen on the magazine's Facebook page,