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Who is the Food Network Addict? He's the guy serving up the latest news and gossip on your favorite celebrity chefs. From Rachael Ray to Ina Garten, Paula Deen to Giada, he's got you covered. Stop by daily and feed your addiction.

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Tuesday, October 14

Food Network Addict Review: Food Network Magazine

The premiere issue of Food Network Magazine hits newsstands today, but I had a chance to check it out a few days in advance. The 148-page first edition will serve as a test issue, with a second test issue to be released in January 2009. Hearst Magazines has slated five subsequent issues in 2009.

While committing to seven issues might seem slim, the odds are actually in the companies' (both Hearst's and Food Net's) favor; food magazines are some of the only titles actually improving their sales right now. When the economy slows, people tend to eat in more and need tips on what to cook.

It's not a guaranteed success, though. Hearst Magazines is dealing with the tough realities of publishing (the company had to fold CosmoGirl last week) and unlike Food Network the cable station where it stands alone as the only 24-7 food channel, Food Network Magazine will enter the market with several high-profile direct competitors--two titles being helmed by Food Network stars.

And while the network has already proved it's "way more than cooking," the magazine has a tougher road ahead. It needs to prove it's way more than the normal food mag.

Here's what I think:

The stars
The premiere issue utilizes the network's star power to its advantage. ("Cook Like A Star!" the cover calls out). Some of the features include a behind-the-scenes look at Iron Chef America, a profile of Tyler Florence's new kitchen in California, Q&A articles with Ellie Krieger and Ted Allen, "Book Reports" on all of the Food Net stars' cookbooks coming out, and recipe features showcasing Ina Garten and Paula Deen.

It covers a LOT of stars--so many that I fear the subsequent issues will have less to utilize. And while it's definitely possible to keep new and fresh content coming from a relatively unchanging cast of characters (I feel like I've done that pretty well these past few years), it's not easy. I'm eager to see if the next issue will feature as much editorial devoted to the stars or if it was the intent to supersaturate the reader with content like this just to lure them in. We shall see.

The food
As some other reviewers have noted, the recipe index that lists both the name of the dish and a thumbnail photo, divided by categories like appetizers and snacks, soups and stews, meat and poultry, sides, etc., is a great feature. Some food mags seem overwhelming in their number of recipes, but the guide really helps you zero in on what you're hungry for. The food pages themselves are further categorized by weeknight vs. weekend cooking--another smart choice.

I'm not a food magazine expert, but after reading through it a few times I feel like Food Network Magazine doesn't give us anything new--nothing we haven't seen before. And even though it has the added advantage of being directly connected to a stream of profitable content (i.e.- the stars), it really needs to prove that its content is valid on its own and not just because Tyler Florence's or Paula Deen's name is attached. I need to feel like I'm truly getting an added benefit from buying this magazine as opposed to just tuning in (for "free") to Food Network.

But if Paula and Rachael can be successful in the food magazine biz, a magazine dedicated to the whole network should have a pretty good shot. So will you be subscribing?

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At 10/14/2008 9:28 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Sorry, FN, but I will be saving up my money to subscribe to Aunt Drunky's upcoming magazine.

Besides, I can get all the info on the stars that I need right here at Jacob's blog!

At 10/14/2008 9:35 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know how this magazine would tie in with the network. I understand the cross-promotional aspect of it, but is there really enough there to cross-promote? Does it have the FN schedule in it? Will it have recipes from the episodes that are aired on FN? Will it have recipes that aren't aired on FN?
They already have aired the Chefographies on FN, I really don't know what they can say in the magazine that hasn't already been said about the chefs and cooks. Sure I suppose they could have updates as to what the FN personalities are doing, but I would think that there wouldn't be enough content for a monthly magazine.

At 10/14/2008 10:34 AM , Blogger Little Ol' Liz said...

I'm with you. There is barely enough new content on the cable channel to warrant interest. The magazine will only echo that. Besides, why pay for the cow when we are already paying for cable TV?

At 10/14/2008 10:55 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Becca, I too will be checking out Auntie Drunkie's magazine, out of sheer interest alone! Any woman that can make multiple cocktails per show and use her crockpot to help in the task too is worth taking a gander at IMO. She just cracks me up! :D I am going to check out this first edition of FN Mag and see if it's worth subscribing to. I'm pretty content with Gourmet and Food & Wine, but we'll see. :D

At 10/14/2008 11:10 AM , Blogger Atiyah said...

I wonder if this is worth me walking to Union Station's bookstore at lunchtime?

At 10/14/2008 11:18 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't forgo buying food to buy a FN magazine . Sorry...

At 10/14/2008 11:23 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

exactly...why subscribe to the mag when I can read foodnetworkaddict for free...heaps more entertaining

At 10/14/2008 11:26 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My budget has tightened and magazines are a luxury item for now.

At 10/14/2008 12:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I signed up for a subscription at the FN site. I wonder when I'll get mine at home? I'm sick and tired of all the other food mags (other than Everyday Food) so I'm looking forward to this one.

Besides, anything with Ina on the cover will get my money! I was having a horrible morning then I had some of her jelly on a biscuit and I swear it made me feel better.

At 10/14/2008 1:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love food network but the magazine really doesn't interest me enough to pay for it. I feel that FN is possibly getting a little greedy.

At 10/14/2008 3:40 PM , Blogger Lisa said...

I liked the Iron Chef America feature.
But I want more Alton Brown!

At 10/14/2008 4:36 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes! I will look forward to getting both The FN and Everyday with Rachael Ray !

At 10/14/2008 4:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How many pages did they let Fee-etti have ?

If it's anything like the TV station, he would be on approximately 43 of the 148 pages, correct ?

At 10/14/2008 8:00 PM , Blogger Charles said...

I picked up ole Pauler's mag the other day, the Sept/Oct issue. It had old news in it, like when she rang the bell @ NYSE in June and her buffet opening back in like, May. The magazine was $5 which was a bit pricey to be a slim magazine with old news. The cover was just darling though with her and her grandchild. I love my EDWRR subscriptionso I think I'll check out this new magazine.

At 10/14/2008 8:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've signed up to get a free mag - just have to send the subscription bill back marked "cancel". I doubt I will subscribe even if I like it since I can get so many recipes and chef info on the website anyway. At least this one issue will give me some recipes for a recipe scrapbook I'm working on.

At 10/15/2008 12:44 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, I won't subscribe...though if they do an insider scoop or extended interview with the Ace of Cakes folks, I will definitely pick up that issue! Honestly, there is only so much time to read mags in a month, and I already subscribe to at least two food related mags - Martha Stewart's Everyday Food, which I like for its straight forward approach in the recipes and quick focuses on specific ingredients and tools, and Rachael Ray's mag, which I like almost solely due to its noncooking and non Rachael features. Eg., I like the quirky monthy shopping finds feature, the quick travel tips, and the - don't laugh! - monthly cooking for your dog recipe.

At 10/15/2008 9:04 AM , Blogger RecipeGirl said...

I subscribed... only because they offered it to me for a mere $10 for the year. I figured that was chump change to be able to check it out. I figured it wouldn't be anything really new. I haven't been diggin' their new website so I hope to enjoy the magazine a little bit more!

At 10/15/2008 8:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok... call me crazy but I liked it! I liked Tyler's kitchen and the idea that they took apart the cheesecake factory's pumpkin cheesecake (my fav) and made up a close to recipe for us. I think I might even try some other things also... just not the mashed potatoes with the onions it looked gross in the picture! 15 bucks for the year isnt so bad... I might just subscribe!

At 10/16/2008 1:24 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's the best place to subscribe? Someone above said $10 a year but the Foodnetwork website has it for $15. I've only seen that price myself.

At 1/04/2009 6:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the first issue. The less Alton Brown i here the better. Most of the T.V. shows are just that now. Someone has told them to look into the camera and talk, talk, talk!! My MY>


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