Ruth Reichl Laughs as Rome Condé Nast Burns

Here's a funny yet bizarre video of Gourmet editor-in-chief Ruth Reichl, famous in her day for reviewing restaurants in disguise, that imagines her returning to her critical roots with disguises of the likes of Amy Winehouse, Mickey Rourke, and Gene Simmons.

A little context, please: In the past year, Condé Nast has gone through rounds and rounds of layoffs and closed two flailing magazines: Domino and Golf for Women — and just yesterday they shut down Portfolio, laying off 85 people. In a case of very bad timing, on the same day that dozens of Condé Nast employees were sent packing, Gourmet posts this self-indulgent video of themselves gloating at all the spare time and money they have in which such silliness can be produced.

We're fans of Gourmet and especially the (unfortunately-named) series Diary of a Foodie, but we can't help but question the strategy and motivation behind this video. Surely food blogs will embed the video (why no pre-roll ads? Monetize, people!) — but the truly viral potential of this is minimal, and it sure doesn't do much to promote subscriptions to the magazine or try to convince companies to advertise in its pages. Brand awareness you say? Brand awareness doesn't generate the necessary minimum pages needed to actually keep a magazine glued together, a point towards which Gourmet is getting perilously close.

Ruth Reichl Goes Undercover

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