Under Editor-in-Chief Adam Rapoport, Condé Nast's venerable food magazine Bon Appétit has been on an extended hot streak. Since he took the helm in 2011, the title has been a three-time National Magazine Award winner (and a General Excellence finalist seven years in a row), a seven-time James Beard Foundation Award winner and has been one of Ad Age's Magazines of the Year three years in a row.
Bon App has also proven to be among the more nimble brands in the Condé Nast stable. It helps that the magazine is part of Condé's Food Innovation Group, which includes Epicurious, one of the very first foodie brands on the web. And it also helps that this past winter Bon App and its siblings opened a new satellite location called the Condé Nast Kitchen Studio (while still keeping space in Condé Nast's downtown Manhattan HQ) in Industry City, a gritty industrial section of Brooklyn that's become a hotbed for startups.
A year ago today, Bon Appétit launched Basically, a digital foodie brand for millennials. Rapoport put Digital General Manager Eric Gillin and and Digital Director Carey Polis in charge of launching the brand and tapped Amiel Stanek to serve as its editor. The thinking behind the vertical was pretty simple: "It's amazing how passionate twentysomethings are about food and restaurants," Rapoport tells me. "But that doesn't necessarily mean they know how to cook. We started Basically to teach them."
Last week, in advance of Basically's one-year anniversary, I sat down with Gillin and Stanek in the sunny, spacious Condé Nast Kitchen Studio, which includes two state-of-the-art test kitchens custom-built for photo shoots and videos—with appliances and cooking gear from sponsors including All-Clad, Crate & Barrel, Delta and Samsung—plus event spaces and workstations for more than a dozen editorial and business-side employees.
Gillin and Stanek talked about what they've figured out in the brand's first year.
Basically is all about visually-driven learning.
Gillin: You know, in terms of this space, I think the way that it really funnels into Basically is it's a place where cooking and visuals are intertwined. The traditional way to do food content is somebody develops a recipe not in a visual environment at all. And then that recipe is sort of triple-tested, made perfect, then you have a shoot, that recipe is made again, then if you want process shots, you have to do it again.