Hunter Lewis Trims the Editorial Fat for Cooking Light Magazine Redesign

That's not a knife... This is a knife

The September issue of Time Inc.’s Cooking Light, which hits newsstands today, features a full redesign. Elements include a broader-font modern logo, increased white space on the inside pages and an added “Ask the Experts” column. Creative director Rachel Lasserre worked on the redesign with New York consultancy Area of Practice.

Then there is the Editor’s Note from editor in chief Hunter Lewis, at the helm of Cooking Light since 2014 and also recently appointed EIC of sister publication Food & Wine. The note begins with the sentence–‘Sharpen the editorial focus.’–and sits cleverly below this photo.

Lewis states his other main goals with the redesign were to create more “aha” moments and bring added joy to the page. But we of course just had to ask about the pictured implement, made by New West KnifeWorks in Jackson, Wy.

“The knife is a 9-inch Damascus steel model from the Phoenix line that New West KnifeWorks discontinued at some point,” Lewis tells Fishbowl. “I have a lot of knives and I’ve had this one since my first magazine job as test kitchen director at Saveur. It’s about nine years old and I love it for both sentimental reasons and functional and aesthetic reasons.”

“It’s been with me now for five jobs! It’s perfectly balanced, the blade stays sharp and it looks snazzy.”

2017 has been momentous for Cooking Light. The magazine turned 30 in April and also collected this year three James Beard media awards: a Food and Health prize for “Brain Food,” Peggy Knickerbocker’s account of culinary legend and author Paula Wolfert’s valiant battle with Alzheimer’s; a Home Cooking award for “Creative Ways to Cook With Nuts” by Cheryl Slocum; and a Humor prize for Francis Lam’s “The True Meaning of Turkey.”

Getting back to implements and favorite gear, another feature in the redesigned September issue is a page highlighting some of the kitchen tools favored by Today Show and Access Hollywood host Natalie Morales. Her approach to knives is similar to the one espoused by Lewis:

“Anthony Bourdain said recently that having a bunch of knives is a waste of money—that in reality we all end up using one or two knives when cooking. I took his recommendation and got one really good 5-inch Global [Chef’s Prep] knife, and that’s the knife I always reach for, no matter the job.”

On the September cover, pictured below, notice also that the most enigmatic cover line reads ‘The Pan You Need.’ We can tell you that in that case, it involves carbon steel and the recommendations of author and culinary instructor Andrea Nguyen.

Photo of Lewis by: Robbie Caponetto