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Cook’s Country Gets a New Editor, Toni Tipton-Martin


Ms. Tipton-Martin, who will start the Cook’s Country job in November, is writing a memoir that will be published in 2021 by the University of Texas Press, and she recently secured a two-book deal with Clarkson Potter that builds on “Jubilee.” The first is “Juke Joints, Jazz Clubs and Juice: Cocktails from Two Centuries of African American Mixology.” The second is a baking book.

Cook’s Country began in 2005 as part of America’s Test Kitchen, which is based in the Boston area. With videos once shot in a home in Vermont, tens of thousands of volunteer recipe testers and reviews of bottled teriyaki sauce and shredded cheese, it’s a cuddlier, more accessible sibling to the cerebral Cook’s Illustrated, whose circulation is nearly three times as large. Both titles pride themselves on exacting recipe standards.

The company was started by Chris Kimball, who left in 2016 to start Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street. It was a bitter divorce. America’s Test Kitchen sued Mr. Kimball and three of his closest associates, claiming they had stolen its business model. Mr. Kimball asserted that he had essentially invented the business model and had been pushed out. The suit was settled in 2019.

Like many print products in the digital age, Cook’s Country has struggled, but its circulation has been rising of late. It now has 274,374 subscribers, and its television show has a weekly audience of about two million, said Jack Bishop, the chief creative officer at America’s Test Kitchen.

Mr. Bishop said the organization began a concerted effort to broaden the demographic makeup of its staff and content four years ago. By 2021, the company hopes to have increased the number of Black, Indigenous and other people of color who work there by 50 percent.

“We asked, ‘How can we build a company that looks like our audience?’” he said. “Public television has probably the most diverse television audience out there.”

In February, the food stylist Elle Simone Scott, the inclusion leader at America’s Test Kitchen as well as an executive editor and a TV cast member, invited Ms. Tipton-Martin to visit the company’s offices and studio to speak with the staff as part of Ms. Tipton-Martin’s book tour. Although she didn’t know it then, that visit would sow the seeds for her new position.



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