How Conde Nast Plans to Make Epicurious the Ultimate Food Resource

An interview with new Food Innovation Group vp, publisher Pamela Drucker Mann


 

Photo: Elizabeth Lippman

 Specs
Name Pamela Drucker Mann
Age 39
New gig Vp and publisher of Food Innovation Group: Bon Appétit and Epicurious
Old gig Vp and publisher of Bon Appétit

Less than a year ago, Epicurious started undergoing a revamp from a recipe site to a food, lifestyle and travel site. This past summer, after you and Bon Appétit editor in chief Adam Rapoport added oversight of Epicurious, you reversed course. Why?
We already have Bon Appétit for food and culture. With Epicurious, we want to create a utility for people who are looking for recipes. So maybe that kind of [lifestyle] content would make sense in the context of finding recipes, but we don’t need to do a travel feature. That’s not what people are coming to Epicurious for.

So what’s the new Epicurious going to look like?
We want it to be the ultimate food resource. If you Google any recipe, you’ll get a gazillion results, but who really knows what’s good? Consumers are looking for help in making their choices. They don’t want 1,000 different options; they want four. Ultimately, we’re going to serve that up to them in the way they want it. We’re also going to build new partnerships. There are so many brands that we could be working with that would love the traffic kickback. And we’ll be building in more natural extensions between Epicurious and Bon Appétit. For instance, if we were doing a story on 10 of our favorite oyster recipes, maybe one of those recipes would come from a chef we’ve done a feature on in Bon Appétit, so we can drive the consumer to read more about them.

You promoted Epicurious’ director of product, Eric Gillin, to executive director of the site. Why have someone from the product side oversee editorial, too?
Eric is a really smart guy. He understands the tech world better than anyone. He understands product. He understands programmatic. He’s the best of both [editorial and tech]—he understands the voice we want for Epicurious but also understands product in a digital environment, which is one of the challenges for other digital sites when you have someone with a traditional magazine background who doesn’t get that world.

Will there be any e-commerce component to the new Epicurious?
Definitely e-commerce is a huge part of the Condé Nast objective. It’s not part of the unveil in January, but it’s in the future.

Just a few weeks ago, you rebranded the combined business sides of Epicurious and Bon Appétit as the Food Innovation Group. What was the thinking behind that?
One of the things that big ad networks have had over magazine websites is the scale play. Now, with an audience of 70 million consumers [at Epicurious and Bon Appétit], we’ll be able to go to our advertisers and tell them that if you want scale, we can play there. If you want brand equity, we can play there. If your objective is digital-only, we can play there. If you want print, we can play there. If you want video, we can play there because we have Condé Nast Entertainment. The brands that have equity and are also able to dimensionalize themselves are the brands that are doing better in the marketplace.

How has your role changed as head of the Food Innovation Group as opposed to overseeing both Bon Appétit and Epicurious separately?
It’s changed a lot in the sense that I feel like we’re building more of a digital-based business. You feel a different responsibility when you have this much scale. Also, I’m a lot busier.