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FoodieCrush: When Great Food Minds Come Together

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h1One of my secret pleasures is to discover new and inspiring bloggers that aren't on everyone's hit list — yet.

Heidi, Larsen, FoodieCrush

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What do you get when you cross great food blogs with a 20-year print magazine designer? You get FoodieCrush a beautiful new digital e-zine that brings the best of the food blogosphere into an easy to navigate package for browsing, sharing and discovering delicious recipes and market finds. Founded by Heidi Larsen – a self-admitted food magazine and food blog addict - FoodieCrush magazine launched in December.

We caught up with Heidi to find out what she can do do in an e-zine that you can't do online or in print, where she finds the food bloggers she works with, and what other opportunities she sees ahead in the world of online food.

You've done print food magazines, you’ve blogged about food– what did you feel you can you do with a digital food magazine that you can't do in those other mediums? It seems like my home—and my mailbox—is overflowing with print magazines, most of them being food mags. I can't get enough of them and their inspiring recipes and photography and profiles about foodie people. But when it comes to the time when I'm in need of an actual recipe I have the hardest time remembering which issue of which magazine I saw that Chicken with Olives recipe or the Best Brownie Recipe ever. My archival system needs help. So what happens? I turn to the Internet.

I wanted to develop a digital resource akin to some of my favorite food publications, but one that celebrates the medium I rely on so often: food blogs. The mission of Foodie Crush is to celebrate not only the recipes you find in the blogosphere, but to celebrate the people behind them.

You've tapped a lot of food bloggers to contribute to Foodiecrush. How do you find them? Of course there are the big food bloggers that everyone loves learning more about and I love when we collaborate and contribute to the magazine and the blog. But one of my secret pleasures is to discover new and inspiring bloggers that aren't on everyone's hit list—yet—and give them exposure in the same realm as food blogger royalty. There's a seemingly limitless supply of amazing new and established talent.

I'm a visual person, and the magazine is of course visual too. Who doesn't want to look at drool-worthy dishes? I'm initially attracted to photography styles and content. I find food bloggers via a lot of lurking and poking about on other bloggers site links, Twitter lists and aggregator food sites like Foodgawker, Gojee and Tastespotting. I also get some great recommendations from fellow bloggers.

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Creating one makes you a connoisseur of the medium - what other digital magazines do you think are doing interesting things? Two of my favorite online food mags are MowieKay, and Sweet Paul. They both have such amazing photo driven content, purely delicious and lovely, simple design.

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Give us a taste - what were some of the most popular stories in the first issue? The cookie feature was a huge hit, I think because we showcased so many different bloggers and their recipes and everyone loved the Mad Libs section at the front of the book. I gave Bev Cooks the task of putting her wit to task and that she did! The Apres Ski feature with Cookin' Canuck and Mountain Mama Cooks was also a favorite, delicious recipes and a behind the scenes look at their lifestyle and friendship. And it didn't hurt that it was gorgeously shot by Britt Chudleigh.

What were some of the things that surprised you most about creating and launching a digital magazine? There were lots of surprises, and mostly good ones! I was thrilled so many people were willing to contribute to a start-up project by lending all of their talents and stories of their lives. For all they knew it could have looked like the back section of the local newspaper, but thanks to them we created something really gorgeous. And my contributors who helped edit and execute, they were terrific. And the response from bloggers, and foodies in general was very gratifying.

How about a preview of the next issue – when is it due out and what are some of the things we'll see? The next issue will be my Summer Issue coming out in July. Lots of recipes of course with summer themes and more terrific blogger profiles, plus some content that will be really unique both in execution and style. I can't wait to share! I'm also going to be launching it in a slightly different format so its more e-reader friendly for the iPad and Nook, but still available for viewing in the flip magazine format online too.

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And you're creating an e-cookbook. It's cute! What's next? I did! I partnered with Maria of Two Peas and Their Pod to publish Cookie Cravings, an e-cookbook filled with her favorite cookie recipes and my photography and design. Well, it's more than just an e-book, we created a whole package centering around cookies. It was a really fun collaboration and our next one will be coming out in time for back-to-school. I've also been approached by several other bloggers who want to create e-cookbooks so I'm definitely working toward building that part of the Foodie Crush publishing brand. I couldn't be more excited about the opportunity ahead in the world of food online.

FoodieCrush is a SAY Media partner. Follow Heidi and FoodieCrush on Twitter @foodiecrush and on Pinterest.

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