Two weeks ago, sparked by Dianne Jacobs’s question about what defines a successful cookbook, I wrote this post So You Want to Write a Cookbook. But the questions raised intrigued me so much that I reached out to two editors I currently work with and respect, asking them specifically, what books that didn’t sell well or make money do you consider to be successful and why. Maria Guarnaschelli responded at length and reached well beyond the question (if her name sounds familiar to you, it may owe to the fact that her daughter Alex, is the chef at NYC’s Butter and a Food Network regular). Her thoughts and decision-making process are a must-read for anyone writing cookbooks, and certainly for anyone who wants to. The following—as well Lorena Jones’s comments, which follow Maria’s—were conducted via email: What Read On »

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  Last night, on the Broad Stage with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, I spoke about connections of music and food, in between selections from Puccini, Rossini, de Falla and Schoenfield. When Rachel Fine, executive director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, first wrote to request that I speak, I honestly almost flat turned her down. I’m no music expert, and wasn’t sure what point it would serve. But she pressed, I became intrigued enough to give it some thought and was surprised to discover how many natural similarities there were and are, and perhaps most surprisingly of all to realize a couple of important musical metaphors had worked their way into my own writing without my being conscious of it. The first was my final meal at the French Laundry, having spent several weeks Read On »

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So so so many people tell me they have a cookbook to write, asking for advice, and I almost always do my best to discourage them, with Asian delicacy and Germanic firmness, I hope. Because I believe that there are too many cookbooks out there already and the ones so often published add nothing new. So when writer and educator Dianne Jacob asked me what does define a successful cookbook, it got me thinking. She’s written an excellent post collating many, many responses from people in the industry. The responses are surprising in their diversity. The first and obvious answer is, a book is successful if it makes money for the publisher and author.  And there are many ways this can happen, meaning that a book that sells 10,000 copies can be a resounding success Read On »

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Food Mayhem is a blog that covers a little bit of everything in the culinary world from recipes to travel, via Food Mayhem.

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Race week in Key West is a massive boondoggle for me.  I wake, look out at the water, drink coffee, write until noon, personal writing, then head to the house where I cook for 12 to 16 people every night. I straighten the kitchen, throw away a few forgotten red plastic cups with limes floating in them, make a list, do some shopping, prep what can be done ahead (make some sauces, or a stock, pick and blanch green veg).  Then I go back to my room at The Galleon, condos right on the docks, and have some coffee and write and re-write some more. The boys return from being on the water and I put in earphones and listen to music and keep working till six, then head to the house and start dinner. Read On »

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