Kimball: Next project will be ‘very focused on public media’

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Christopher Kimball remains as host of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country, but will announce a new project in January. (Photo: Boston Common Press)

Christopher Kimball, who left America’s Test Kitchen this week after a contract dispute, said in an interview that he will remain involved in public media.

“I’m doing 12 station events this year, and hope to do that many next year — maybe even a few more,” Kimball told Current.

Kimball said he’s not giving interviews but spoke with Current “because public media is my home.”

His next project, which he hopes to announce in January, “will be very focused on public media,” he said.

Boston Common Press, parent company of ATK and Cook’s Country, announced Monday that Kimball was no longer with the company. “We made every effort to offer Chris a reasonable contract that reflected his significant contributions to the company,” CEO David Nussbaum said in a statement, “and are disappointed that we could not reach agreement.”

When asked if he still has a title at the company, Kimball answered: “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.”

“We’re still talking, and it’s friendly,” he added.

Kimball is co-founder of ATK, which airs on public TV in 187 markets and has expanded into book publishing, online cooking classes, a podcast with 6 million downloads, and a public radio show airing on 300 stations. That medium is even more challenging than television, Kimball said.

On TV, “I stand and watch people cook, which is harder than it looks,” Kimball said. “But 54 minutes on radio with almost no cooking? On TV we can have 20 seconds of dead air, watching someone cook. But with radio, that’s a challenge.”

However, he said, the audio medium allows “a more expansive” program. “We can go all over the world, and cover more topics,” he said. One recent show looked at German “food bombs” in World War II, when Nazis hid explosives inside chocolate bars.

Kimball said he doesn’t think such programming would work on commercial media. “Public media made our company,” he said. “And we’re so grateful that public television gave us all those years to figure out what we’re doing.”

Although he can’t yet disclose details of his next project, one thing is certain: He’ll still be wearing his trademark bow tie and suspenders. “People don’t recognize me without those,” he said.

Update: On Thursday, Boston Common Press confirmed that Kimball will continue as host of ATK Radio.