A new SA culinary publication that speaks about food through pop culture, politics gender roles and religion

This article first appeared in City Press.

by: Grethe Kemp | 04 Jun 2017
 

(image: Chips! Instagram)

There’s a new quirky, authentic and infinitely interesting zine on the scene that’s taking a very different approach to writing about food. Using food as a lens to culture, it tackles topics such as religion and gender roles, and it does so in a deliciously designed package. We spoke to editor Alix-Rose Cowie, a photographer and former editor of Between 10and5, about the thinking behind Chips!

Who’s behind the publication?
Chips! is published by Studio H, a culinary-minded, multidisciplinary design studio specialising in experience design. We’re also the team behind the annual street food festivals in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Studio H is headed by Hannerie Visser, who comes with 12 years of magazine publishing experience, and I’m the editor.

Why was Chips! started?
Studio H has a belief that every creative team should have a passion project. The team has been dreaming, plotting and planning a food magazine for years. We saw a space for an alternative food magazine in South Africa that could also talk about things like sub-culture, pop culture or politics, and also be a vehicle for creative food photography that pushes boundaries and speaks more to art than lifestyle.

What is the direction and ethos of Chips! – are you trying to do something specific in how you angle your content?
Everybody eats. Everybody has a relationship with food and it says so much about their lives and contexts. We use food as a way to talk about things such as culture, life and travel. Through food-related stories, our first issue touches on converting to Islam, adoption, immigration and gender roles.

While we’re made in South Africa, we’re globally conscious and also want to use food as a way to explore the world. In our first issue, we have stories from India and Thailand alongside our stories from home. We’re also publishing quarterly issues based on different themes such as religion or money.

What kind of writing do you like to include?
We want to publish new, diverse voices on a range of topics. We like to bring in contributors who may not be from the ‘food world’, but who are equally obsessed with food and the stories that surround it. They may be fashion photographers, news journalists, copywriters or hobbyists. We also have a strong photography focus and produce videos.

How are sales going so far? Do you have any sponsors? What is your business model?
Our main focus is an online magazine with an occasional printed zine. We recently travelled to the Food Book Fair in New York City, where we were selected to exhibit and sell our first zine among other independent international titles. It was invaluable to receive international exposure and to learn from what is happening globally.

We were totally humbled and surprised by the great response we got there, and by the online orders we’ve received so far. For future issues, we want to work with like-minded brands to create meaningful and authentic food-related content. We’re so excited about all the possibilities.

You can read Chips! at chipsonline.co.za and buy the print version it at Studio H for R60.

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