Origin Story — Fare
This article was first published in the Coverage newsletter in February 2018.
Coverage's regular feature explores where magazines come from and why they exist, something I'm eternally fascinated about.
Here, editor Ben Mervis explains how his background working with renowned chef René Redzepi and a trip to Istanbul triggered an exploration into the city, its food and its people.
“Fare’s conception comes from my time in Copenhagen. I worked at noma, and MAD (noma’s food culture non-profit) for 2 years. I began as an intern and eventually became the assistant to head chef René Redzepi where we did a range of work together: writing, editing, developing concepts, researching into food histories and cultures, providing a soundboard for ideas, and less glamorous things (but still fun) like biking across town for rendered bone marrow or getting fresh peas or strawberries from the market.
“René gave me the confidence to pursue my own project, my own print publication, and when I left he gave me his blessing to go and do this project. It was deeply inspiring to be around such a creative genius, to see how his mind works, to see his work ethic, the way he plans. He has been hugely supportive of me.
“Previously, René and I had gone on a trip to Istanbul for a CNN show called Culinary Journeys, in which René researched baklava. That’s where I fell in love with Istanbul—it was just so beautiful, chaotic, buzzing, and somehow deeply familiar and foreign at the same time. And that is to say nothing of the history, or of its food, which we found to be amazing in all parts of the city.
“At that point it was a case of merging these passions. Fare Magazine is more or less the way I think when on the road: curious about food, history, and people. I generally prefer the deep reads and cultural immersions over long queues at museums etc. I wanted a product that looked good, but was really about the reading, relatability, and relevancy. None of our content is time-sensitive. No ‘hot tips for Istanbul summer 2017.’
“With Helsinki, I wanted to provide a strong contrast to Issue 1, with a younger, nascently proud, vibrant, and creatively charged city. By choosing such a contrasting location we could, from the outset, establish that our city selections might be a bit unpredictable, but would always follow the same sort of stories.”