At work with: David Lane, The Gourmand

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We start the new week chatting to David Lane, editor-in-chief and co-founder of food journal The Gourmand as he prepares the seventh edition of the magazine. We also hear a whisper of what he’ll be speaking about at our Modern Magazine conference on 29 October.

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Where are you today?

At our lovely loft studio on a leafy street in N1. Its home to The Gourmand, Lane and Associates, the agency I run along side the publication and Pundersons Gardens a brilliant production company I collaborate with on a lot of film content.

What can you see from the window?
Lots of trees and Georgian houses—we get to see the nice houses they get to see our grubby warehouse. We also have a big roof light. A while ago, when it was raining, a squirrel slid down like a ski jumper and launched off into a tree.

Are you a morning or evening person?
I fluctuate. I used to sit up all night writing, then rewriting emails, moving type around, cropping and grading images etc. More often than not I would then wake up and do it again with a fresh head and a coffee. Then I had a realisation, in the shape of a baby, that introduced the idea of mornings to me. They are great, what takes 2 hours at night you can get done in 20 mins in the morning.

Funday Times
Which magazine do you first remember?

As a kid I used to collect comic books and I’m sure I had a subscription to the Funday Times, which I suppose is a sort of magazine. As I got older my habit dug deep and I moved on to much harder reading material: Dazed, Sleeze Nation, i-D all that sort of stuff which was really at the hight of its powers in the early 2000’s. Through university I threw in a few psudo-intellectual design publications too and I always dipped in to my mums collections of Vogue, Elle Decoration and art magazines — I still do.

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What’s your favourite magazine this morning?

I’m doing some research for a new project and enjoying a selection of lovely Newspaper supplements: Zeit, M and the New York Times Magazine are the cream of the crop really. Its lovely when people manage to make something full of energy and with a sense of humour within the confines of a traditional format like the newspaper supplement. I really admire Mirko Borschs’ efforts on Zeit for this reason, I think the real skill is persuading the establishment that that sort of approach could work, and it does! There is a brilliant photo editor too which helps a lot.

What’s your favourite breakfast dish to start the week?
A cup of tea and some fruit with oats and yoghurt. This morning it is banana, pear, prunes and honey.

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What sets The Gourmand apart from other food-related titles?

Food truly is the most universal subject in the world and that considered most other publications in the field follow a very tried and tested path. There are of course exceptions to this rule, Lucky Peach for example is great and there are also a few others but mostly we read about seasonal ideas from smily celebrity chef who once worked at the River Cafe. This is often coupled with overly fiddled food shoots that smell suspiciously of the same props houses.

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The Gourmand
on the other hand is about ideas and creativity. Its about food as inspiration for talented writers, photographers, illustrators and set designers to produce work that is genuinely new and exciting. We want to make something timeless, both in its content and in its physical quality.

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Your aesthetic is very pared-back and clean, and it’s been refining issue to issue. What changes in the design have you made since issue zero and why have you made them?

The nice thing about working on the same title for a few issues is that you can concentrate more and more on the content. Like a good pair of shoes the design rules you have set start to wear in a bit and fit better and the decisions that at the beginning took a lot of thought come naturally. It starts to be something you can own and refine and you don’t have to try to hard. If the imagery and writing is top notch, which in the case of The Gourmand it is, you don’t want to confuse matters to much, its about finding the simplest way to amplify the content in the best possible way.

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What will you be discussing at The Modern Magazine conference?

A sort of manifesto of The Gourmand, so anything from Milton Glasers Underground Gourmet to a dog fashion show.

What are you most looking forward to this week?
I will be finishing two films I have been working on alongside the magazine. A commercial and a short documentary. I love directing films, it is the closest thing I have found to producing magazines in that you are steering a big group of talented people towards a shared goal. There is also that lovely sense of excitement and energy as all the separate parts come together and the final visual appears. I Also have a lovely breakfast at the Wolsley booked in for Thursday. With a new baby going out getting drunk and eating to much every night isn’t really on the cards any more so a nice breakfast is the next best thing.

What are you least looking forward to this week?
The amount of time I spend writing emails. We all moan about it a lot so I won’t go on about it here but it is really the bain of my life. If I was to list the things I’m good at and should be spending my time doing writing emails would not be near the top.

What will you be doing after this chat?
Getting back to the 20 people that have emailed in the 20 minutes I have been writing the answers to these questions.

thegourmand.co.uk

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Tickets are still available for The Modern Magazine 2015, a day of talks by the best contemporary magazine-makers, including David from The Gourmand. London, 29 October.
Buy tickets now.

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