Saveur got a new Editor-in-Chief in 2006, when Colman Andrews (one of the original founding crew from the magazine's inception) stepped down after long-running battles with the new corporate ownership (World Publications out of Winter Park Florida.) Andrews was a curmudgeon, and a brilliant iconoclast. For years, he refused to run an image of a turkey on the cover of the November issue, to the displeasure of the newsstand sales dept. He was replaced by James Oseland, a contributor and Associate Editor at the magazine (one of his first acts was to run a picture of a turkey on the cover of the November issue - get it?) Saveur has fallen on tough times. Since most ad budgets for the food category are gobbled up by Rachel Ray, Gourmet, BonAppetit, Food and Wine and the like, Saveur is left with table scraps, and issues are skinny. Photography and art direction have always been first rate, and Oseland builds on this tradition with his passion for food photos that border on pornography, they are so luscious) But a shift in focus from Andrews' euro-centric vision to Oseland's more pan-asian outlook (he is the author of an excellent book on Indonesian cuisine, "Spice Islands") leaves something in translation as these themes don't resonate as heartily with Saveur's core audience. But he does seem to be attracting some younger, more urban readers. (Somehow, images of sweaty, grimy cooks behind-the-scene in a Bombay restaurant doesn't stir my soul for Indian food, though.) There is one bright spot - a greater focus on Asia has lightened up Saveur's previous artery-clogging fare. The editorial staff write for themselves mainly, so if you share their vision, then you'll love Saveur. (A special issue in 2007 was all about Chicago for instance, which happens to be Oseland's home town.) And other reviewers are spot-on about the recipes - if you don't live in NYC, you'll have trouble handily finding ingredients such as chicken feet, although they do reference websites for you to source things via mail-order. Wine coverage since Andrews left is scattershot and cursory - Oseland isn't a wine drinker, and wine stories compete for precious editorial space in these lean times for magazine advertising. I give Saveur high marks for uniqueness. If you do subscribe, pair Saveur's mineral, flinty undertones with a more practical, off-dry recipe holder such as Everyday with Rachel Ray or Southern Living.
in depth coverage on a few foods
My first copy covered a wonderfully in depth section on lamb. After that there was little to recommend it. I hope for many ideas from a cooking magazine and will hope that future issues give me more to work with.
Try Intermezzo instead.
I subscribe to several magazines--Bon Appetit, (ex-Gourmet), Intermezzo and Saveur. Saveur is lovely but there is a disconnect in its new direction---it used to be lovely and sophisticated (almost too sophisticated), now trying to be more hip and geared toward quick weeknight meals (like on their website), which is what I want from Bon Appetit, not Saveur! I like the simple yet sophisticated recipes in Intermezzo best, plus their travel and wine features are better than anyone else's.
Food writing is overly pretentious, obtuse, and irritating
The magazine is run by food snobs who prefer complication and pretension over good quality non-frilly food. If they were a restaurant, I'd doubt they'd ever get their Michelin star.
Secondly, their publisher is a very unkind dowdy person who has watched 'The Devil Wears Prada' far too many times for her own good.