UPDATE, 4:24 p.m., March 15: Lucky Peach confirmed its imminent shutter in a blog post published today by Peter Meehan. In the announcement, Meehan promises one more issue after the scheduled May publish — “a crazy double issue in the fall” — though does not divulge details about a potential theme. “I think it’s important for you to know that Lucky Peach loves you and REALLY values the time you’ve spent together,” Meehan continues. “Once it gets over its own internal grieving process, maybe it’ll even be able to manage an adult press release.”
Lucky Peach, the six-year-old indie food media outfit from writer Peter Meehan and restaurant mogul and Momofuku founder Dave Chang, is going through a major upheaval. The entire staff learned on Monday afternoon that their employment would end in May.
The last scheduled issue of Lucky Peach magazine, the Suburbs issue, will hit stands in May. The last planned Lucky Peach book, All About Eggs, publishes April 4.
Peter Meehan couldn’t be reached for comment. Chang tells Eater that he’s keeping all options open but couldn’t elaborate further.
Lucky Peach was first envisioned as an iPad app, a “deconstructed, non-linear television show,” from Chang, Meehan, and the producers Zero Point Zero with a companion quarterly print journal published by McSweeney’s. The concepts quickly separated, with some of the material for the app morphing into the first season of the PBS show The Mind of a Chef and the journal taking on a life of its own.
The first issue, released on June 22, 2011, is still selling for over $100 on eBay and $85 on Amazon. Consisting of longform articles, essays, interviews, recipes, and illustrations, each issue tackled a new theme, from ramen (issue one) to breakfast (issue 17), gender (issue eight), the seashore (issue 12), and Los Angeles (issue 21). The publication became known for its irreverence (“Dick Soup”), its bold artistic design, and its sense of humor (e.g., wonderfully spoofing rival magazine Bon Appetit).
The Lucky Peach team split from McSweeney’s in 2013, launched a website in 2015, and branched out into a line of cookbooks, including the uber-popular 101 Easy Asian Recipes and, most recently, a vegetable book, a sausage book, and the upcoming egg book.
The magazine won nine James Beard awards — including Publication of the Year in 2016 — and a National Magazine Award for General Excellence.
If it does indeed fold, it will be missed. Widely. By writers, readers, chefs, and food lovers. Stay tuned for more coverage.
• Lucky Peach [Official site]