Who are you and what is your background?
I am Joel and along with co-founder William, we make Triple Cooked – a London based food magazine. We both grew up in and around family-owned restaurants and both of us later worked for some of the pioneer traders of the London street food scene circa 2014. We channeled our experience in street food along with our passion for food to form the magazine around about the same time.
In what city?
London is our home although we have lived in Singapore and Maine (USA) on and off over the last few years.
Can you tell about us, about your magazine?
I and William started putting the magazine together whilst on vacation on the East Coast of the USA in 2014. We basically spent so much time planning all the restaurants, coffee shops and bars we were going to visit and thought why not use all of this information to make a guide and share with everyone else. When we got back from the trip and back into our street food industry jobs, we curated other articles and stories based from our work life and made it into a cut and paste zine, a format inspired by the hardcore punk zines of the 1980’s.
We tend to set an overall theme to each issue of the magazine, plan several articles around that and leave the rest of the content open. We want to have a broad range of articles in each magazine and have contributors based on the likes of Paris, Barcelona, and Berlin. In our duo, I head the design of the magazine whilst William manages the overall editorial line and tone. William’s day job as a lawyer involves regimented, systematic writing – in the likes of formulating contracts, which definitely rubs of in the structure of some of our articles. But William also keeps his writing informal and satirical, using local slang and abbreviations to form his articles.
Print: Why choose print? What kind of paper you use and why? Typography? (Explain)
I was introduced to DIY print magazines whilst attending punk rock shows and picking up a flyer or fanzine from the merch table. I was impressed that people in this small community put together magazines to support the local scene and promote the community. Pieces of writing about a recent tour, an interview with a local band or talking about venues, future shows, and other music or non-music related things. This DIY ethic inspired me to print a few fanzines of my own before using the techniques and new found passion for print make Triple Cooked. The goal was to support the street food community that we were working in and be a voice for it, just like the punk zines I grew up on.
Choosing paper is quite straight forward. Eco-friendly, recycled paper is what we tend to go for. Issue 1 of the magazine was in a cut and paste format and only in black and white riso-print – which was quite challenging seeing as we had lots of food photos in the magazine that were difficult to distinguish what the photo was actually of. We ending up having to pick food photo’s which had obvious silhouettes so that you could actually tell what it was. Since then we have moved into full-colour digital print and with each issue the magazine has increased with the number of pages, maintaining a basic paper choice – which is usually whatever the printing companies stock option is.
I have slightly changed the typography with every issue but have always kept the body typeface serif so that it reads easy. I like to use hand styles for titles or poster pages to break it up a bit.
How’s the public response?
The response to the latest issue (Issue 4) has been great. We commissioned an amazing illustration (@jimandjuice) to do the front cover and it turned out amazing.
Can you give us a tour of your local media scene?
There are a handful of great London based food magazines such as Root and Bone and Noble Rot, both of which have been going strong for over 5 years. Root and Bone started as a free magazine that you could find in the best coffee shops and restaurants around the city. Noble Rot came out of the restaurant with the same name and is heavily wine focussed. We are definitely inspired by these two magazines.
There are a few great newsagents and magazine shops which stock a wide variety of magazines. This main magazine shop is a store called MagCulture who host a variety of events – such as seminar talks with magazines editors.
Business: Good print mags get a lot of love, but is not always translated to sales or advertising. How’re the sales? Advertising-wise, is it a normal approach of selling an ad page or more a brand ad approach?
The cost of printing a small run of a magazine is high. In order to fund the first press of issue 1 of the magazine, we held a launch party super club at a converted butcher’s shop in Central London. The event was ticketed but it was mainly our friends who bought them. We cooked a 3-course meal for 20 guests and at the end of the meal we moved the tables to the side and it turned into a massive party. Lots of photos were taken and shared across social media, which generated publicity and boosted magazine sales and our social media following. The scale of which was unexpected but ended up working so well that we have used this same model each time we release a new issue. With each issue and launch for it we have sold more tickets to friends and fans alike, have spread it across a weekend and sold merch to bring in more money to help offset the cost of the print.
We have also sold some ad pages in issue 3 of the magazine, contact companies that directly related to our main theme. However, since we have quite a low circulation it is tricky to attract advertisements. Our goal is to sell more ad pages but to we failed to do so in the latest issue, so instead we partnered with a wine subscription service, adding a unique code to our magazine so that for anyone who signs up using that codes we get a cut.
What is your online strategy?
We don’t really have one. We take photos of interesting food that we eat while traveling or at our favorite restaurants and post on Instagram, That’s about it!
About design, what does your brand represent/reflect?
I try and change the layout of the magazine with each issue in hopes of finding the best format for us. Issue 3 and 4 are quite similar in that sense as we are finding our feet. Each issue is compromised of a variety of illustrations, photographs, and graphics. Since we have a large feature on a food tour of Italy, I decided to base the color theme of issue 4 on color palettes of classic Italian company advertisements such as Campari, Fiat, and Martini.
When designing the magazine I avoid all other magazines and publications in order to create something of my own and not copy anyone else.
What inspires you and motivates you to go to work every day?
My overall inspiration for the magazine stems from the DIY hardcore punk ethic, along with a passion for food. Together these have given me the drive to create something of my own.
What were your biggest challenges as an entrepreneur?
The magazine is very much a part-time hobby for myself and William. We both work in intense industries, with long hour days and not much free time. A big challenge is using this free time effectively to do everything needed to release a magazine and manage it on a day to day basis.
What advice would you give someone who wants to start a magazine?
I would encourage anyone thinking about making a magazine to make a start on it right now. You don’t need to learn how to use Indesign, you don’t even need a computer. The first magazine that I did was created entirely on an iPhone. All you need is a phone or a pen, paper, and some scissors.
Upcoming projects (explain)
We are currently thinking about where to go next with Triple Cooked magazine. We have discussed starting a charitable initiative to help underprivileged kids get into cooking but we are in still in the early planning phase.