London-based writer and editor Miranda York has just launched TOAST, a new culinary magazine. TOAST Magazine is an annual magazine celebrating food and ideas. Published independently by the founders of TOAST, it focuses on food culture and the stories that surround it, showcasing the best British food writing, photography and illustration. Printed on thick matte paper and thread sewn, it’s a well-designed magazine aimed to be collected and keep on people’s bookshelf with timeless themes and an innovative approach to its subject.
Miranda York is a writer and editor who has worked for publications including Vogue, Financial Times, Urban Junkies, How To Spend It and Harper’s Bazaar. With this magazine she has brought together a team of experienced industry professionals to create TOAST, including art director Will Perrens of Atwork, who has worked for Wallpaper*, Hermès, Mute, Prada, sub-editor James Hadley (GQ Style, Square Meal, The Telegraph) and assistant editor Sophie Dening (Mr & Mrs Smith, Bon Appétit, Condé Nast Traveller, Mr Porter).
Speaking about the new magazine, Miranda York said, “I wanted to create something timeless, something people collect and keep on their bookshelves, taking it down from time to time to read a story or gaze at the beautiful photographs and illustrations. I’m also a sucker for paper and ink, the tactile nature of thick matte paper, the weight in your hands, it’s satisfying. Plus, we’re striving to revive long-form food journalism so it makes sense to have something you may curl up with on a comfy chair and linger over.”
Marina O’Loughlin, Bee Wilson, Jojo Tulloh, Meera Sodha, Natalie Whittle, Sybil Kapoor and chef Jeremy Lee are just a few of the writers featured, writing on subjects as wide-ranging as the British obsession with crisps, First World War care packages and the experience of working in an Indian restaurant. Plus there are interviews with Claire Ptak (Violet Cakes), chef Brad McDonald (The Lockhart) and Sager + Wilde. There is also an article from the late Michael Bateman, a pioneer of modern food journalism.
Furthermore, fine art photographer Tim Richmond has explored the British seaside and artist Fernando Laposse has experimented with colourful sugar glass, and there’s an emphasis on original illustration throughout the magazine: Joel Penkman, Camille Walala, Louise Sheeran, Paula Castro and John Broadley being just a few of the artists featured.
In talking about the next edition Miranda York said, “In general, we approach writers, photographers and illustrators we admire and discuss ideas with them rather than simply commissioning pieces on set topics. I’d love to have more non-food writers writing about food in the next issue, I think it’ll bring some interesting perspectives into the mix.”
The magazine is also going to be launching (an?) editorial on the website very soon and it is planned to be completely different from the magazine. The focus is going to be on people, from interviews with restaurant front-of-house staff to spotlights on artists and craftsmen creating anything from beautiful ceramics, to sturdy cast-iron pots. As with the magazine, there’ll be lots of illustration and the odd photo essay. Currently a copy of TOAST is available in many book shops including Tate Modern Shop and is available to ordered online from their website www.eatdrinktoast.com.
Looking towards the magazine sector as a whole, it is generally news and current affairs titles that are proved to be one of the more resilient magazine sectors. The Week increased its print sales by 1.1 percent to almost 200,000 last year, with digital sales at 26,283, a relatively impressive 13 percent of the total. The Week charges £90 for a digital subscription, launched three years ago and £120 for a bundle with the print product. The Economist’s UK edition decreased 3.5 percent of print sales, however, digital sales grew 72 percent to 21,780. When print and digital sales are combined, the Economist overtook Private Eye to become the top selling UK news and current affairs title with an average combined circulation of 223,730.
What unique features does Toast magazine bring to the magazine industry?