Chris Kimball Is Being Sued by America’s Test Kitchen

The suit alleges Kimball breached his former employer's trust planning his new venture, Milk Street.

Photo provided

Christopher Kimball. / Photo provided

Apparently, there are too many cooks in Boston’s test kitchens. The well-known local media empire behind Cook’s Illustrated magazine and America’s Test Kitchen has sued cofounder and new competitor, Christopher Kimball, over Milk Street, his new food media publishing company and cooking school in downtown Boston.

The Boston Globe obtained documents filed today in Suffolk Superior Court that outline ATK’s claim that Kimball was developing Milk Street while he was still fully employed at ATK. Kimball left the Brookline-based media company last fall, after ATK instated its first-ever CEO.

After his departure, Kimball insisted the split was friendly, and promised to remain involved in public media. He officially announced Milk Street Kitchen in June.

The Globe notes the media company is now being billed at Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street. Over the summer, a nearby independent business, Milk Street Cafe, filed a trademark suit against Milk Street Kitchen, which is ongoing, according to the Globe.

Milk Street, headquartered in the historic Flour and Grain building, launched this month with cooking classes, and its own radio show and magazine of road-tested recipes, technique tips, and equipment reviews. A public television show has also started filming.

“Seeing the physical magazine was the last straw,” America’s Test Kitchen chief creative officer Jack Bishop told the Globe. “I think everyone on the board was taking [Kimball] at his word” that his new venture wouldn’t compete with ATK’s products, Bishop said.

Bishop told the Globe America’s Test Kitchen is seeking compensation from Kimball, and is also asking him to change some aspects of the Milk Street venture. Kimball’s lawyer, Scott Lashway of the firm Holland & Knight, declined to comment to the Globe, and also to Boston. Boston has also reached out to Milk Street for comment.

America’s Test Kitchen, which formed out of the Kimball-cofounded Cook’s Illustrated in the early 1990s, is moving from its longtime home in Brookline Village to a state-of-the-art facility in the Seaport District this summer. The media company also has plans to be more public-facing, including with a fleet of ATK-branded Holland America Line cruise ships.