It’s not often that a messy public divorce, of sorts, leaves nearly everyone — or at least those of us who weren’t part of the relationship—better off for the split. Of course, I’m not talking about a real marriage or family, but of a corporate relationship.
In 2015, Chris Kimball left or was forced out of the America’s Test Kitchen empire he had founded several decades before. In case you don’t know, ATK includes an eponymous PBS TV show and another a second show called Cook’s Country, a magazine of the same name and its more famous, older sibling Cook’s Illustrated, as well as recipe and equipment review web sites, and a cookbook publishing business.
Kimball founded the company in 1993 and led it from a Brookline, Massachusetts, brownstone until he left. Right before that point, the company had brought on its first CEO as it tried to deal with the changes in the way Americans get their food journalism in the age of the internet, but at some point in 2015 Kimball was forced out of his company by co-owners who thought he was no longer the man for the job.
At the time I was very skeptical of the move. I write here that this was a big mistake: “Chris Kimball is the face and personality of ATK and its driving force. This is like John Scully forcing Steve Jobs out of Apple in the 1980s. It is Kimball’s homespun, stolid Vermonter style that underpins everything they do from the magazines to the TV shows to the radio show.”
I’m happy to say I was wrong. Certainly things have worked out for Kimball, but it’s also worked out for ATK. Read More and Comment