This one gets me right in the feels.
I’ve been watching America’s Test Kitchen for most of my life, and it is in large part at fault for my long-lived obsession with food. But sad news, kids: Chris Kimball, the show’s bow-tied host, has decided to leave the program, NPR reports. Kimball’s departure will be immediate, after 16 seasons.
Kimball, 64, will also leave his spot as editor-in-chief of Cook’s Illustrated magazine (and if anyone from Cook’s Country is reading this, I love my job, but I also love your publication…). It seems that Kimball is leaving the company over a contract dispute. “We made every effort to offer Chris a reasonable contract that reflected his significant contributions to the company and are disappointed that we could not reach agreement,” says David Nussbaum, CEO of Boston Common Press and newly-appointed CEO of America’s Test Kitchen.
America’s Test Kitchen has a weekly audience of 2 million viewers, making it the most-watched cooking show on public television. Kimball supposedly has other irons in the fire, having also hosted 9 seasons of Cook’s Country. He will be the host for both new seasons of the show, but after that, no more.
Kimball insists that the departure is a friendly one. “We’re still talking,” he says. He’ll be doing 12 station events next year, and a new project is to be announced in January. When Kimball was asked what his current role with ATK is, he replied, “Interesting question, isn’t it? I don’t know what I am. I’m still on the shows for next year, and we may still be working together.”
There was some speculation that hiring Nussbaum as CEO could force Kimball out of the company, as already filled the role of creative head. “At the time, the movie was explained as the result of the need for a seasoned executive to oversee rapid growth,” but perhaps there were simply too many cooks in the literal kitchen.
Jack Bishop, the show’s delightful editor (and host of the Tasting Lab segments), has been promoted to chief creative officer. The show will also hire 25 new employees next year. Things will keep going, just sans a trademark bespectacled face.