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My 10 Top Favorite Magazine Covers PDF Print E-mail

By Dave DeWitt
During my 20+ years of editing magazines about chiles, spicy foods, and BBQ, I've been part of the various teams responsible for nearly 100 magazine covers--for both the first ten years of Chile Pepper magazine and the entire existence of Fiery Foods & BBQ magazine. Here I pick my ten favorite covers--from earliest to most recent--of both of these titles. Note that a couple of the earlier covers are a little beat up from use.

Chile Pepper, September/October, 1990

In the early days, we featured a lot of illustrated covers, including this one for our lead feature, "Texas Heats Up," an entire issue devoted to Texas chili and barbecue. Gregory Truett Smith did the illustration, with Lois Bergthold (now Lois Manno) art directing.

Chile Pepper, March/April, 1993

This was the time that magazines were doing "nude" covers, like a pregnant Demi Moore on the cover of Vanity Fair. So we joined in with the help of the late renowned Navajo artist R. C. Gorman, who painted a nude chile pod. Also art directed by Lois, the inset photo on the cover was shot by Chel Beeson in Gorman's luxurious house in Taos.

Chile Pepper, September/October 1993

Probably the wackiest cover we ever did, this parody features Elvis impersonator Lonnie Yanes on a lonely road outside of Albuquerque in a photo shot by Chel Beeson. The lead article was about spicy festivals all over America. Lois was the art director of the issue.


Chile Pepper, May/June, 1995

"The Healing Powers of Peppers" was big news in the mid-90s, and we needed a bold graphic to illustrate the lead story. That was produced by Andy Plymale who works for Wayne Scheiner & Co., which does all the advertising for the National Fiery Foods & BBQ Show.

Chile Pepper, July/August, 1996

This was the last cover for Chile Pepper that was designed in Albuquerque because the publisher sold the title. Lois Ellen Frank took the pulled pork BBQ shot and Lois Manno added the inset photos of the pig and the Ollies' sign.

Fiery Foods & BBQ, Spring, 2003

Back when the magazine was a quarterly, we were fortunate enough to discover Norman Johnson, an extremely talented photographer. His cover shot of "Stu Burns" was styled by Denice Skrepcinski under the art direction of Lois. Note the steam coming out of Stu's left ear.

Fiery Foods & BBQ, January/February, 2004

One of our most popular issues ever featured Joe Perry, lead guitarist for Aerosmith, posing with his own hot sauce and a switchblade. Pat Berrett shot the cover with Lois and Molly Wales assisting. We still get requests for copies of this particular issue. Joe is a great guy and easy to work with.

Fiery Foods & BBQ, March/April, 2004

This cover, with the sexy-lipped model about to indulge in a lollipepper, was shot by Norman Johnson and styled by Denice Skrepcinski under the art direction of Lois. It was rather controversial and some sensitive women protested its provocative imagery. The men loved it.

Fiery Foods & BBQ, November/December, 2005

This shot of Red Chile Pumpkin Chiffon Pie was shot by Norman Johnson and styled by Denice Skrepcinski under the art direction of Steve Seemann. It was part of the lead article, "Heating Up Your Holidays." The magazine was then part of a joint venture with Pioneer Communications in Iowa.

Fiery Foods & BBQ, November/December, 2006

Part food photography, part assemblage, this cover was designed by Steve Seemann. The shot of the Habanero Parmesan Chicken with the flaming skulls was shot by Norman Johnson and styled by Denice Skrepcinski. The photo of Blair Lazar was shot by Christopher Sztybel of Blair's Sauces and Snacks.

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