I LOVE FOOD MAGAZINES, BUT I KIND OF SEE LUCKY PEACH AS MORE THAN THAT. IT'S KIND OF LIKE A BIG TOME OF FOOD GEEKINESS . . . WITH RECIPES? KNOW WHAT I MEAN? IT'S LIKE WHAT THE COOL KIDS ON THE SCENE READ AND CONTRIBUTE TO. IT'S COOL IN ITS NERDINESS! [laughs] Of course I understand what you're getting at there. We are still trying to produce a food magazine, and the way Ying has talked about it is that we don't have enough money and we don't know enough famous or beautiful people to do a really nice entertaining spread that makes you want to buy everything. We don't have those artistic resources. You're a writer, you know how it is when you want to write a story or you're fascinated by something and no one wants to run it. Whatever we think is interesting combined with who we can get to write it is how we approach our themes. And we try to tell things differently, whether it's transcripts or cartoons . . . it's the best we can do.
THIS ISSUE, AND I DEFINITELY SAW IT IN "SWEET SPOT" (THE THEME OF ISSUE TWO) AS WELL, TENDS TO TAKE A MORE INTROVERTED LOOK AT THE CREATIVE WORKINGS OF CHEFS, OR THE END OF COOKING, OR THE FUTURE OF FOOD. IS THAT AN INTENTIONAL EVOLUTION OR WAS IT MORE OF AN ORGANIC THING? Totally. I think "Ramen" [the theme of the first issue] was a very concrete subject, and we tried to do a very tangential exploration of it. "Sweet Spot" is an abstract concept, so it's really a big jumble of different things, but all of them, by some way of thinking, went through the Sweet Spot prism. This issue is supposed to be [themed] "Cooks and Chefs," but for chefs, not about chefs. We could have just profiled 100 chefs we think are awesome, you know? There's a million ways you can approach that topic, so we went for more of an inside-out look. I think it's a very legitimate opinion about Lucky Peach to say that it's "insidery," and our hope is to grow past that, but at the same time, having [Chang] involved in the magazine gives us access on a certain level. And it's also good to have people who aren't chefs, like me, who are trying to really understand these guys.
TOTALLY AGREE. MY PERSONAL FAVORITE IN THIS ISSUE WAS THE PIECE ON THE JOE BEEF GUYS. AND I SWEAR I DIDN'T EVEN REALIZE IT WAS YOURS UNTIL AFTER I READ IT. Oh man, I wanted to write that story for so long. Those guys are some of my favorite human beings on the planet.
THEY'RE MINE TOO NOW, AND I DON'T EVEN KNOW THEM! I THINK THE HONESTY IN THIS ISSUE WAS A HUGE PART OF ITS APPEAL FOR ME. I think we either had to be really honest, or, I don't know . . . really dumb. If we're going to pander, we're going to have Grant Achatz and Wylie Dufresne in a fake liquid-nitrogen fight, am I right?
: Food Features
, Peter Meehan, food and dining, Lucky Peach