About 16 years ago, right before I began cooking professionally, I met with a chef who gave me some advice about the path I was about to take. She said I had two choices: culinary school or just get into kitchens and learn from the bottom up. Behind curtain number two was a short list of all the magazines I should subscribe to, to amend my on-the-job learning in lieu of paying an establishment to teach me everything I needed to know.
Gourmet magazine was number one on that list. I promptly subscribed and read every issue cover to cover until I could no longer. I let my subscription run out in the late 90's. Gourmet stood still, was getting dusty and needed a breath of modern air.
In stepped Ruth Reichl, in the spring of 1999. Some say she ruined the magazine and the letters section for a number of months stated this angrily from innumerable longtime readers, many of whom stopped buying and reading Gourmet then and there.
But I happily picked it in the summer of '99 and haven't looked back since. I consider Gourmet magazine required reading for myself and anyone who works for me. Whether it be for thoughtful articles, controversial viewpoints, industry insider dish, lively photography, food travel-logs, or Ms. Reichl's editor page, I love Gourmet like never before.