Fishbowl Five With Kat Kinsman, Editor-in-Chief of Tasting Table

Kat Kinsman chats with FBNY about Tasting Table's future.

Kat-Kinsman-Art

The first thing you notice when you head to tastingtable.com is — as it should be — the food. Your eye immediately falls on and lingers over the site’s scroll of photos rotating through verdant swirls of pasta, pies resting on generous portions of whipped cream and perfectly seared steaks, all taken in house. As robust as the site is, the roots of Tasting Table are not Web-based but email-based. From its 2008 launch as a newsletter, the brand didn’t take long to grow its audience. With well over a million subscribers today and a reputation as an authority on restaurants and recipes, always carefully and conscientiously vetted by staff, Tasting Table’s ambitions are widening accordingly.

Editor-in-chief Kat Kinsman arrived in November, at a time when the organization has been expanding its presence, moving from an inbox-only phenomenon to a full-fledged Web destination. Kinsman is a bridge between two worlds, and her early thoughts on new content ideas for Tasting Table hint at an effort to merge where she came from to where she has landed. Her work at the helm of CNN’s Eatocracy blog found her chasing food stories with a harder-news edge, like the science behind ready-to-eat pizza produced for soldiers stationed overseas, or a salmonella-poisoning outbreak at a prison. Now, she finds herself heading an organization whose purpose it is to select and share the finest foods on offer across the country.

“I made sure that we’re still going to be able to hit on hunger and food justice and the not-so-lovely and Instagram-able side of the food world, because you can’t write about all this beauty and this indulgence… without paying attention to the fact that there are an awful lot of people who are not getting enough food. That balance is going to be interesting, but I have complete confidence that we can pull it off.”

When we caught up with Kinsman, not only was she in the first weeks of her new job, she was in the final few weeks of completing the manuscript for her first book, on the topic of anxiety. “I hope this book is going to help people realize they’re not alone, that they’re free to talk about mental health,” she told FishbowlNY.

We asked Kinsman about her frenetic first weeks and future plans for Tasting Table.

FBNY: You were brought on at a time when Tasting Table was looking to expand in a lot of different formats. What are you focusing on right now?

Kinsman: My bent has always been food news and culture and where that intersects from person to dish to farmer — where the human touch is in food. It’s a really great thing to be able to meld that with the very dish- and cooking- and chef-focused content they’re doing.

I’m going to come up with more regular series’ of content and define what those are going to be. People will be able to really become invested in particular franchises, whether it’s technique based, whether it’s people’s motivation for getting into food, whether it’s practical advice for getting the best possible restaurant experience you can. It’s going to have a lot of perspective to it, whether it is from the person making the food, the person serving the food, the person going out to eat the food.

[Tasting Table has] established such a tremendous look, such a tremendous visual feel of what the story is like, so we’re going to keep going with so much of that, double down possibly on that, and just figure out how we’re going to look to tell the stories. What I think I’m probably going to be doing is adding a little bit more personal connection to it, a little bit more fun narrative flow and see where we go from there.