At work with: Michele Outland & Fiorella Valdesolo, Gather Journal

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This morning we’re over in New York and at work with Gather Journal’s creative director Michele Outland (left) and editor Fiorella Valdesolo (right). The pair began the food title together in the summer of 2012, and this week marks the release of their 1970s themed ninth issue.

Where are you today?
MO: In my apartment in the West Village.
FV: In my apartment in Gowanus, Brooklyn.

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What can you see from the window?
MO: The Empire State Building (above).
FV: Treetops and rooftop.

Are you a morning or evening person?
MO: Evening (I’m pretty incoherent in the mornings pre-coffee…)
FV: Both.

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Which magazine do you first remember?
MO: National Geographic. That yellow color…
FV: I second NatGeo. Also Life.

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What’s your favourite magazine this morning?
MO: The California Sunday Magazine.
FV: New York Times magazine.

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What’s your favourite recipe this morning?
MO: Thinking about the Pineapple Blackberry Upside-Down Cake (above) in our brand new issue coming out today. I want to have it for breakfast along with my coffee – it’s so delicious!

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FV: I could eat our Slinky Uni Pasta (above) morning, noon and night.

How do you make sure that the recipes in the magazine relate in some way to the editorial content?
MO: Each issue of Gather has a theme and we stick really closely to the theme when developing the recipes and all other content. We’re really don’t stray too far away from it so I think it keeps it all really coherent as far the editorial content.

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Tell us about the new issue’s theme, the 1970s.
FV: Creatively speaking, it’s a decade we constantly reference so it was fun to take a deep dive into it as inspiration for the issue. The issue”s menus are separated by genre: television, music, film, style, and a special chapter devoted to David Bowie, who is a genre unto himself. There are also special features about the iconic hair styles and the golden age of porn, plus text musings on everything from the cookbooks that defined the decade to the wonder of a crockpot, the genius of Norman Lear to the short-lived, but much-loved, Viva magazine.

When Gather began in 2012 there weren’t as many food magazine around as there are now. Do you see these other magazines as competition, or is the food industry broad enough to sustain multiple independent titles?
MO: We definitely don’t see them as competition. It’s been a really exciting time in independent publishing over the last several years. I feel like everyone, especially the food magazines, all have their own unique voice and angle. And I think the audience is there and has been really receptive to these different viewpoints on food.
FV: We take a more the merrier attitude! We love food and we love the print medium so it’s nice to see so many other like-minded creative people out there.

What are you most looking forward to this week?
MO: Getting the new issue out into the world. It’s always fun to share our labor of love.
FV: Receiving the issue, sharing the issue, and sleep.

What are you least looking forward to this week?
MO: Invoices (it’s a double edged sword).
FV: Shipments. Groan.

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What will you be doing after this chat?
MO: Taking my dog and our staff mascot, Isabel (above), for a walk.
FV: Jumping on a crowded subway to head to a freelance editing gig.

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Portrait by Jas Tang

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