Soon there will be even more to love about "Wisconsin Foodie." Specifically, a print publication.
The Emmy Award-winning local television series will be expanding its reach, thanks to the recent acquisition of Edible Milwaukee magazine.
Much like "Wisconsin Foodie," which maintains a focus on telling the stories of local food purveyors and producers throughout the state of Wisconsin, Edible, a quarterly magazine that launched in 2013, made a name for itself through in-depth stories focused on the local food scene in Milwaukee and surrounding counties.
And that, says Arthur Ircink, independent filmmaker and founder of "Wisconsin Foodie," is what makes the magazine such a good fit for its brand.
"We’re based in Milwaukee," he notes. "And although our mission on ‘Wisconsin Foodie’ is to highlight stories about the food scene throughout the state, there are so many stories we’d like to tell about Milwaukee. It makes the magazine a fantastic complement to what we do state-wide."
Bringing life back to print
When asked about his specific interest in a print publication in this day and age, Ircink smiles.
"I am such a magazine geek," he says. "Back in high school, my friends would go out to parties, and I’d go to the bookstore. And I was always reading. The art of print has always been a big part of my life; it’s inspiring to me. And I think there’s a real opportunity here to keep up the strong journalism, but also to transform this publication into something that’s really artfully done."
Ede says that, although she’s chosen to pursue another path outside of publishing, the journey to found and cultivate interest in Edible Milwaukee was rewarding.
"Returning home to launch Milwaukee's Edible magazine, and growing it over the past four years, has been one of the most challenging and rewarding things I've done so far in my professional career," notes Ede, who moved to Milwaukee from Boston to launch the publication. "I'm grateful to our community partners for seeing my vision – which, early on, wasn't even on paper – and supporting us, year after year, to our contributors for their beautiful work and to the readers, for the love and kind words that came every time we distributed. Together, we made Edible Milwaukee what it is today."
Ircink, who purchased the publication with colleague Wendi Devan, director of strategy at Wisconsin Foodie and co-owner of the specialty food business SA Braai, notes that Ede has been a "passionate visionary for Southeastern Wisconsin’s food community" and that he’s eager to take her work and move it to the next level.
Change is a comin'
Ircink says that Ede will remain with the publication as a consultant for both the summer and fall issues, offering the team a chance to really work the kinks out of their processes. But, he says readers will begin to see changes to the look and feel of the magazine beginning with the winter issue.
"We want to bring distinct personalities to the magazine in the same way we do on ‘Foodie,’" he says. "Our goal is to bring in a variety of voices, from local writers and photographers to artists. We want it to be a playground for creatives in the community. In that way, the magazine might take on a look that’s maybe a bit more punk rock art scene than it is currently... something modern and cool."
Behind the scenes Devan and Ircink note that they’ll be working to re-centralize the production of the magazine, including layout design, printing and distribution to companies in Wisconsin. They expect that the magazine will continue to be issued at least quarterly; however, they are considering adding an additional page count, as well as special issues.
They will also be looking at ways to bulk up both the social and digital components of the Edible Milwaukee brand, potentially adding a video series and other elements that assist in bolstering the print publication.
"We’re already planning stories for next year," says Devan. "Right now everything is an open book and a big brainstorming session. But, we’re really excited to get started. Edible has a very strong, established community. And part of our job is to broaden that. We want to really engage people of all ages and give them a chance to be a part of our community. We’d also like to influence the distribution of it so we can get it into more eager hands."
Ede says she’s confident she’s left the publication in capable hands.
"When we started, we said the stories in our burgeoning food community were enough to fill a book," she says. "It's true, they've filled a full four years' worth already, and they will continue to do so, vibrantly, with Wendi and Arthur as publishers. And although my chapter in Milwaukee is over, but I'm happy to know that Edible Milwaukee's book will publish on."
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.