This week brought an intriguing bit of culinary news: Former Saveur publisher Merri Lee Kingsly, who left the magazine after it folded into related Bonnier properties in 2011, founded a food-focused ad agency known as Palate. Though created as a spinoff of Texas-based agency FKM, Palate will be based in New York (no surprise there).
While we’re not familiar with Kingsly’s work at Saveur, we certainly admire her love of food and her personal bravado: last year she admonished former Times food critic Sam Sifton for writing zero star reviews and told him to “stop being so rude to the chefs in our world that work so damn hard every single day”. Kingsly’s obvious passion for the culinary arts leaves her more than qualified to spend her days promoting them.
She also offers restaurateurs a unique take on the traditional agency, assembling a team composed of experts in the areas of food prep, wine selection, and mixology to create unique groups designed to advise each individual client. Her team’s collective portfolio includes big brands like Top Chef, Iron Chef, Jean Georges, Gramercy Tavern and Chicago’s Balsan. Impressive, no? Who better to help restaurant managers define their brands than celebrated veterans of the restaurant industry?
What do we think? Can a former food publisher make for a successful ad executive? We don’t mean to gush, but after reviewing her team’s credentials, we’d say yes.