Test Kitchen Redux

by Jennifer Iannolo

I’m so excited to kick off our January issue that I can barely contain myself. Or perhaps that’s from testing all the coffee recipes. Whatever the case, our Test Kitchen remodel is complete, we have a cacophony of cooks, and I should be shot for this shameful show of alliteration.

It is almost impossible to believe that nearly a year has passed since we launched this little site-that-could. Since that time, there has been an evolution I could not have predicted with the first issue (which now seems quite skimpy!). We’ve been on national television, nominated for a World Food Media Award, and our reader numbers continue to climb; now 20,000 of you come to visit us each month to celebrate the sensual pleasures of food, and we could not be more heartened by such an enthusiastic response.

As we focus on the goals that have been set for 2006, we are eager to bring our pages to life in new ways, and just about all of that activity revolves around the Test Kitchen. Chef Mark Tafoya has taken over the reins (tongs?) as Executive Chef, and he is joined by a talented team of cooking professionals whose passion and joy are utterly contagious. I am delighted to welcome Melissa De Leon Douglass, Monica Glass, and Eydie Desser to our team, and my palate awaits with great anticipation the flavors to come from their deft hands. Their bios will give you an idea of what’s in store.

Chef Donna is stepping out of the kitchen to help craft some new programs that will bring us closer to you, on a more face-to-face level. Her commitment and passion over the course of the past year has led us to flavor experiences previously unknown, at least to me, and I am personally grateful for the discoveries she has brought to my life as a gastronome. It is difficult to fully express in words, however, the level of joy Donna has brought to my life as a human being. I am eager for us to break new boundaries in the coming year.

In redesigning our kitchen’s approach, we have looked at ways to go deeper on technique and broader on flavor, while delivering such things in a concise way to make it easy for you. As a result, we have split our Main Ingredient and Indulgence sections away from the rest of the food articles, and created a new “Cooking” section completely focused on what happens in the kitchen, specifically:

  • A “dossier,” or fact sheet, each month for the Main Ingredient and Indulgence, featuring a brief history, flavor profiles, best matches, and an overview of the approach we’ve taken for exploration
  • Bi-weekly notes on technique and new discoveries via our Test Kitchen Notes blog
  • For faster reference, we have created a new gateway to browse recipes by category, such as Appetizers, Main Courses, Desserts, etc.

We will of course continue to indulge in the aesthetic pursuits of food, sharing our ruminations and musings, but those sections will remain separate under the heading of “Articles,” where you can peruse them at your leisure. For a complete explanation of our new navigation, please see the announcement we’ve posted.

There is much to come in the year ahead, but this is a wonderful start, and we hope you will continue to share your feedback with us so we can deliver the information that is most valuable to you as passionate cooks and those eager to learn.

Happy New Year!

Photo: Kelly Cline

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