A couple of months ago I was contacted by the managing editor of Good Taste magazine Daniela Bertollo. She was in the midst of pulling together the final edition of the magazine I launched 17 years ago.
I had heard rumors of its demise but it was still a shock to open the email and receive confirmation:
“I’m currently putting together the ‘Celebrating 17 Years of Good Taste’ pages in the August issue, the final issue of this wonderful magazine.”
As I was launch editor of the magazine she was wrapping up, Daniela was seeking my approval to include this quote from my inaugural editor’s letter:
“Women today don’t have time to shop all over town for ingredients. Our lives are far too hectic. A one-stop shop is the ultimate solution to this dilemma. It’s the reason we’ve joined forces with The Fresh Food People to bring you this new concept in Australian publishing.”
I remember it like yesterday. Australian Good Taste was the first magazine that I launched. I was 30 years old and a mother to two-year-old Jackson. My first editor’s letter was accompanied by a photo of the two of us. Australian Good Taste was like a second child, before my actual second child was born two years later.
It was a little after midnight in June of 1996 when the first edition rolled off the printing press at Alexandria in Sydney. Hannanprint’s then CEO Michael Hannan was on hand to take it off the press and Australian Good Taste Publisher Geoff Campbell and Art Director Chong Wengho were with me to receive delivery of it. It was a momentous occasion for Australian food publishing, and also for my career.
I was clueless about food magazines when I took on this project, but bizarrely I’m convinced that’s why it worked. I gave the project the perspective of a potential user of the magazine. My poor food editor Anneka Manning, who I had poached from Gourmet Traveller magazine, tore out some hair in frustration as I questioned the cooking terms and method that spoke to foodies but not to those of us who never learned to cook.
Our particular spin on food was simple, quick and accessible recipes that looked special enough for a dinner party. Low stress, high impress was a guiding principle. We were the first to do it, five years before Donna Hay and Delicious magazines launched. As it turned out there were a couple of hundred thousand time-poor aspirational women who couldn’t cook but needed to. Our magazine appealed to the first generation of women who were more focused on careers than traditional homemaker skills. We were on to something special.
A food magazine with a unique distribution strategy through one supermarket chain was new at the time. It was a joint-venture between Text Media and Woolworths. That partnership endured until Text Media was sold to Fairfax and Woolworths took Australian Good Taste to FPC magazines. FPC was bought by News Magazines in 2006 giving Australian Good Taste its third publisher in 10 years.
The final issue of the magazine that gave me the confidence to believe I could do anything goes on sale next Wednesday, July 24. Clearly this magazine that was part of thezeitgeist in 1996 has run its course. It’s time to let it go.
Have you had to let go of something that was an important part of your career history?