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The Big Easter Interview: Meet The Editor of delicious. Karen Barnes

As part of our Easter eggstravaganza (sorry) we talk to Karen Barnes about the joys and pressures of publishing, her dream dinner party, and tips on creating the perfect Easter feast - including one particularly delicious. hot cross bun recipe. 

What is the best thing about being the Editor of delicious.?
That’s a tricky one. If I had to narrow it down, it would be the moment after our monthly issue planning meeting where I hone down the content into an issue that works, with a good balance of recipes – a mix of simple and more challenging; classic and adventurous; a few good reads; strong health content; great potential headlines… Something for everyone, in other words.

I generally have around 40 more pages on my list than I can fit in, and it’s so challenging to whittle it down – but also immensely rewarding. I get a strong gut instinct when it feels right, and that is a very good feeling indeed. I still get excited by it.

Do you have any advice for budding chefs?
Follow your passion, but also remember what makes people feel relaxed, what makes a meal enjoyable, include a bit of theatre, and never forget the social, sharing nature of food. If a meal has enjoyment at its heart, that’s a great start, but above all I’d say simplicity that tastes good is better than showing off that tastes like a disaster on a plate! 

What are the challenges of being a magazine Editor?
Time. I never have enough of it. These days, being an editor is about so much more than editing the pages of a magazine – you’re in charge of a brand. I have to think about the website, about the podcast, I have to make sure I know the up-and-coming new chefs and meet key advertisers, I have to host events and be constantly thinking ahead about what might be good over the next six months – or even a year ahead.

Sales are a constant pressure as we manage the changing patterns of how people buy print and how they consume/use/search for recipes. It’s crucial the magazine is more than just a collection of recipes – it has to entertain. 

What do you have planned for this Easter weekend?
Very little. I normally pack so much into my free time, but I’ve made a resolution to plan as little as possible this Easter so I can be spontaneous and enjoy being at home for a change. I think my husband and I will end up having Easter lunch with my brother and his family, which will be fantastic as my sister-in-law is a great cook.

Top tip for a stress-free Easter feast?
Plan ahead and make as much ahead as possible. Buy the Easter issue of delicious. as there’s a plan-ahead menu in there!

And the best way to impress? 

You can’t go wrong with a home-made hot cross bun – so much better than anything you can buy in the shops. This recipe is easier to make than you might imagine (really!), and there’s almost nothing better than eating one warm from the oven with a daub of really good butter.

Tell us about your favourite way to relax once an issue is completed?
BIG glass of wine and a meal out with an old friend or two. Generally I prefer one-to-ones than big groups. 

Describe your dream dinner party?
The late cellist Jacqueline du Pre, the former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the actor Dominic West, chef Yotam Ottolenghi, the new Great British Menu host Andi Oliver, the Italian food writer Anna del Conte, my husband and two or three of my closest friends – friends who have an insatiable interest in other people, rather than themselves.  Yes. That.

What can subscribers expect from future issues? Why subscribe?
Because delicious. always has something for everyone and to suit whatever type of recipe you fancy cooking. If you need speed on a Wednesday night, there will be quick, yet wonderful things to choose from. If you want to spend more time crafting something special at the weekend, there will be plenty of inspiration for that, too. Above all else, the magazine seeks to be your friend in the kitchen, teaching you more about skills, provoking thought, sometimes making you laugh, making you feel empowered and included – and, above all else, the magazine is a jolly good read.

For a life that tastes better subscribe to delicious. the UK's best food magazine. 

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