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The Daily Gullet and RecipeGullet are back

Fat Guy

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Today we launched the redesigned Daily Gullet webzine, and unveiled a new look for the RecipeGullet service. We've also added a new eGullet Society portal page as an entry point to our webspace.

With this revival, the Society strengthens its commitment to support not only food discussion (as it already does in eG Forums), but also the craft and art of food writing and illustration, by seeking out and publishing talented authors in the field, regardless of their established credentials.

In addition to a new look and new technology, the Daily Gullet has a new direction. The eGullet Society already provides the internet's finest food discussion; the new Daily Gullet strives to be an equally distinguished voice in magazine form. Under the stewardship of editorial director Dave Scantland, and thanks to the dedication, hard work and enthusiasm of our international volunteer staff, the Daily Gullet will be propelled to a higher level of achievement and influence.

The new eGullet Society portal page will feature listings of hot topics in eG Forums, current offerings from the eGullet Culinary Institute, a section of up-to-date food-related media topics called MediaWatch and listings of new recipes in RecipeGullet. The portal is the tip of the eGullet Society iceberg.

As for RecipeGullet, we look forward to the continued growth of this unique collaborative online cookbook, with recipes tested through extensive trial, error and thorough discussion. The strength of RecipeGullet is its synergy with the eG Forums, eGullet Culinary Institute and other Society endeavors. As a result, its recipes can be subjected to scrutiny, amplification and potential variation by Society members -- beginners, advanced home cooks, and seasoned professionals. Clear instructions, illuminating techniques and thoughtful ingredient lists are just some of the benefits that distinguish RecipeGullet from standard online recipe databases. RecipeGullet is also at the forefront of education about weight measures for solid ingredients, and offers a powerful proprietary data entry algorithm that converts plain language recipes into formal ingredients lists.

The Daily Gullet and Recipe Gullet were put on hiatus late last Summer as eGullet.com transitioned to the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting a broad spectrum of activities concerning the culinary world. The reappearance of these two important features, coupled with last month’s start of the eGullet Culinary Institute spring semester, represent the much awaited completion of this reorganization.

Since its founding in 2001, the eGullet Society has grown from a handful of dedicated and like-minded individuals to a global organization with more than10,000 members representing a diverse group: professional and amateur cooks; food and kitchen equipment producers; writers, diners and consumers. The Society today sponsors the leading online food and food-related discussion site on the internet (eG Forums) and comprises, as part of its energetic agenda, an online cooking academy (the eGullet Culinary Institute), regularly scheduled interviews and discussions with the movers and shakers of the food world (eG Spotlight special appearances), a recipe database (RecipeGullet) and an online literary journal (the Daily Gullet). Future plans include community outreach, expanded educational opportunities, and a scholarship program for budding culinary and culinary writing talent.

All of this costs money. We were able to service our first few hundred members from an old Compaq web server on the floor of Jason Perlow's basement. Today we are serving more than 3,000,000 pages a month to more than 10,000 members and many times that many non-member readers. These costs do not exactly increase arithmetically: we are near the maximum capacity of a single web server, even a very powerful one, and despite state-of-the-art compression and cache management we will soon need to lease a second server, doubling our technology costs. We also must pay more for redundancy and security, and some of our advanced programming needs can no longer be met by our volunteer staff (though many of them can be) so we have to pay contractors to perform some of these services by the hour.

Our other ambitious programs also require funds, especially our scholarship program. Much of what we do rests on the shoulders of our volunteers, but if we want for example to provide video clips with eGullet Culinary Institute courses we are going to need to invest in equipment. And it's expensive just being a not-for-profit organization: when we eliminated commercial advertising from the eG Forums we made a short-term revenue sacrifice that we will need to make up, and although we maintain exceptionally low overhead we can't escape the fact that the daily expenses of increasing demands on our infrastructure are mounting.

If you are not already a Society Donor, we hope you will take a moment to become one. If you are already a Society Donor, we hope you will consider an additional gift. Most of all, we hope you will enjoy the new Daily Gullet, RecipeGullet and eGullet Society portal.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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