“Often cookbooks are bought not to be used, they are not ‘driven by the kitchen’; recipes are virtual tours of the world, it’s like reading travel stories even if you know you won’t make the trip”. Thus spoke Edouard Cointreau, one of the great names in the realm and French spirits and founder of Gourmand International, the organisation behind the fair. “You may choose one or two recipes and make them your specialities. For the rest, it’s like travelling through your mind, guided by the book”.
England’s Papadakis is another publisher who crossed the line. Traditionally dedicated to architecture, decorative arts, science and natural history, it made its first trip into the realm of food with Teatime, a sumptuous journey through London’s 50 best tearooms. “It’s a cultural as much as a culinary book, a way to explore different interpretations of tea”, says Alexandra Papadakis.
Visual Recipes, self published by the Finnish photographer Marina Ekroos, presents entire recipes through single photos. Each shot depicts a dish as raw ingredients, intermediate step and the final product. Food Landscapes, by English photographer Carl Warner (published by Abrams Image), transforms food into urban and countryside scenery. Its unique style earned Warner the privilege to design the 2012 Cookbook Fair poster.
The younger Edouard Cointreau, who shares his name with his father and with the creator of the world-famous liquor in 1849, is happy with the response of the industry: “Publishers such as Kornmeyer used to be habitués of the Frankfurt fair, then left it to establish a presence here: it’s a recognition of how we became the hub of the cookbook rights market”.
A few heads were also turned by Table Manners: a Culinary Review of Hospitality in Antigua and Barbuda, by Jaine Conley and Gulliver Johnson. “This is an absolute wonder of a book”, the younger Mr. Cointreau says almost to himself. “Food is culture”.
“The cookbook market is healthy and growing 5 to 10% a year in most countries”, adds his father. “In China, the number of titles published has increased by 30% every year for the last ten years”. What turned some cookbook into art book, according to the older Mr. Cointreau, is “the strong demand for quality: even as book get more expensive, they sell well”.
Staff shortages are hitting the hospitality sector hard, prompting some restaurants to look outside the industry to train those without restaurant experience for life in the kitchen. Andrew Friedman finds out more.