Can Food & Wine go where Food Network Magazine and Every Day With Rachael Ray have gone? In the latest effort to parlay a TV brand into print, Food & Wine will publish a 24-page section in its January issue called Top Chef Magazine.
Unlike the aforementioned magazines, the Top Chef section will take the form of an advertorial about the Bravo reality show, for which Food & Wine has been a longtime sponsor. Articles are being created with Bravo’s approval and will center on various aspects of the show’s contestants, while Food & Wine will sell ads in the section. If it’s successful, Food & Wine will consider running the section quarterly or turning it into its own issue.
“There are many elements from a consumer marketing part of it,” Food & Wine publisher Christina Grdovic said. “We’d like it to be a 13th issue or some sort of a stand-alone, but we have to see if it makes sense.”
Publishers have been successful at translating celebrity chefs into magazine content lately. Rachael Ray and Food Network Magazine have been two of the fastest-growing titles in recent years. And Food & Wine has reason to be optimistic about the Top Chef section; Top Chef is the highest-rated food show on cable, averaging 2.31 million total viewers and 992,000 adults 18-49 in Season 8, per Nielsen live-plus-same-day ratings. Food & Wine’s sponsorship of the show has brought brand awareness and PR for the magazine.
Grdovic said she’s been kicking around the idea since before the recession as consumer interest in food and cooking has grown. “There’s so much to talk about,” she said. “What’s going on in the world is what’s inspired us.”