The Gourmand is a new magazine about food and the culture thereof. It is not gourmet; it isn’t precious or on-trend or uninteresting (in the way only those people tasked with trying to eat tiny leaning-tower-of-Pisa-style plates of food might find it interesting). A gourmand is a person who “takes pleasure and interest in food of all kinds” and the contents of this publication reflect that.
Appropriately, it started with a dinner party hosted by the editors-in-chief Marina Tweed and Dave Lane; “most of the people who were there are now in the magazine so it was organic, in the way it happened… not in the food. Though, actually I bet it was a bit organic.”
During the course of the meal (lamb breast rolled with apricots and cinnamon and served with bulgar wheat, in case you’re interested) the select group talked about how they wanted to approach the theme of all things edible/imbibe-able. Like the very best sorts of dinner parties, the guests-cum-contributors, were a true smorgasbord of characters and professions though each intrinsically creative – musicians, writers, artists and the like – who were ideally placed to reach out to their subjects and be like “Do you want to come for a burger?” Rather than “Do you want to come and talk about your album?”
The answer was inevitably “yes” in the case of the “uncannily ursine” house music duo, Raf Rundell and Joe Goddard i.e. The 2 Bears. In a transcribed tour, they and Dazed & Confused editor Rod Stanley ate their way around Brixton market.
“Food and drink isn’t an icebreaker that we move on from,” says Dave, instead it’s like a (non-lame) metaphorical fondue into which all manner of discussion points are dipped into. For example, topics covered in issue 00 of The Gourmand include the American legendary graphic artist Ed Fella’s favourite restaurant (the CalArts cafeteria), crocodile farming (as photographed by Robin Friend), an ode to the Manhattan cocktail (by Kyle Hugall) and an evening spent with David Shrigley discussing his radical departure from sculpture and drawings to opera.
The layout of this magazine is typically great (Dave is half of London’s Inventory Studio) and there are all sorts of budding design devices, one of the nicest examples being a index of recipes at the back which relates to a moment in the copy when a particular type of food or meal is referenced.
All the content is commissioned (aside for some working sketches Shrigley provided for his opera costumes) and the variety of it is well-gauged. On one hand, the nigh-on fetishistic photographs of traditional Swedish foods passing the high-definition lips of some young Swedes (as seen by photographer Gustav Almestål), and on (or should that be in?) the other hand, a homily to the humble kebab.
“The creation of The Gourmand is a testament to the communicative power of food, and its inherent relationship with the arts” the editors state, and those artists they approached have been extraordinarily up for talking or making new work about it. Everyone has a signature dish or recommendation or hand-me-down recipe that they want to share, and in that way, the magazine’s crowning achievement, surely, is talking about art through the medium of apple dumplings.
Oh, and they plan to release the issues seasonally, naturally.