When launching a new project, no matter how well-considered the concept, there is a lot to be said for trial and error.
The second issue of Tooth-Ache is taking the approach of evolving as it goes. While the concept is solid – a food magazine for chefs, by chefs – its execution is an ongoing process. With just one issue as testimony, founding editor Nick Muncy is already explicit in the changes that he has made in issue two. “As the magazine progresses, the vision becomes more evident,” he writes in his editor’s letter, “and I had a few specific goals that I wanted to overcome this issue.”
There are two notable changes to the magazine. Tooth-Ache launched with a distinct focus on pastry. Muncy is a respected pastry chef (he spent five years at San Francisco’s Michelin-starred restaurant COI before departing to set up Tooth-Ache) and therefore has a natural inclination towards pastry-led content. Upon review, and wary of the magazine being pigeon-holed, Tooth-Ache now encompasses both sweet and savoury. The second change was to make the magazine more personal. As a direct result, chefs’ bios are now all in first person and interviews are kept as conversational as possible.
Muncy's eagerness to evolve the magazine – and in doing so make it the best it can possibly be – should be applauded. Bettering a publication is nothing new, indeed it comes as an editor’s second nature, but doing so at such an early stage speaks volumes of the openness and transparency of Muncy’s approach. It is also an indication that even greater things are yet to come.
Tooth-Ache resists merely filling its pages with recipes. While there are plenty of these scattered throughout, a wealth of in-depth articles give the magazine a varied pace. In one feature Bao La and Jowett Yu (above), lauded as “two of Hong Kong’s most innovative chefs”, discuss Asian cuisine and “why people think it’s supposed to be cheap.” Elsewhere, an article by César Vega, compiled in collaboration with Andrés Lara (below), takes a look at the science of ice cream. This is not taken lightly: figures and tables feature in abundance.
All in all, Tooth-Ache is great read. The content is well-considered and while it sticks to the main conventions of an indie food magazine (need I mention the exquisite food photography), it is not short of surprises.