Chapel Hill native Hunter Lewis is moving up in the world of food journalism. Next month, he will become editor of Cooking Light magazine.
Hunter, 36, had spent the last two years as executive food editor at Southern Living, which is also owned by Time Inc. and based in Birmingham, Ala. Hunter is replacing Scott Mowbray, who is retiring after 17 years with the company and has run Cooking Light since 2009. Lewis starts his new job on Sept. 22.
“It’s a dream job,” Lewis said shortly after the announcement. Lewis, who graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said he’s lucky to have found a career path that combines his two passions: cooking and journalism.
Lewis says he doesn’t envision making any major changes at Cooking Light, which has more than 11 million readers in print.
“Cooking Light is really strong,” he said. “There’s not a ton of changes that need to happen overnight.”
However, Lewis mentioned a recent trip to the grocery store where he noticed shoppers were bumping into each other because they had their noses in their cellphones. He hopes to help the magazine improve access to its content across digital platforms to help readers plan those shopping trips and meals.
Lewis fell in love with food in, of all places, Jersey Mike’s, where he worked before studying journalism in college. He went on to work at La Residence in Chapel Hill and eventually got a job at The Durham Herald-Sun, where he talked his way into becoming the restaurant critic.
Lewis left North Carolina to work in New York City, working for renowned chef Jonathan Waxman at Barbuto and then as head of the test kitchen at Saveur magazine and as food editor at Bon Appetit magazine.