THE TABLE, THE DREAM, AND THE BOOK
Writing a cookbook has been my dream for the past 10 years. Throughout my career, I've worked as a private chef, recipe tester, food stylist, food and travel writer, and cookbook editor, but above all else, I've had one burning desire on my heart: to inspire people to cook simple, healthy meals, and to spend time with friends and family around the table. I was fortunate enough to grow up eating nearly every meal around the yellow table, and it was there that I developed my deep love for community, conversation, and good food.
I started this blog in 2011 as a place to share my recipes and stories, with the hopes that it would one day become a cookbook. But as you may or may not know, cookbook deals aren't exactly thrown in your lap - unless you happen to be a famous chef, a famous person, or a really huge blogger. (None of which describe me!) After years of waiting and making excuses on why I wasn't qualified to do this, or why it would never work, a lightbulb went off in my head this summer and I realized: "You can do this!" I decided to start taking baby steps towards that dream, and it's amazing the outpouring of support and encouragement that have come my way.
THE COOKBOOK DIARIES
The Cookbook Diaries is a 20-week blog series documenting the pursuit of this dream. I've set March 2014 (a.k.a. my 34th birthday) as my deadline, and I'm inviting you all into my tiny Manhattan kitchen for the next few months, as I share the ups and downs of creating this cookbook. (Did I mention that I live in a fifth-floor walkup apartment?!) I'll be developing, testing, and shooting 100 recipes, and blogging daily about the process, along with some fun dinner parties, interviews, videos, and more.
I don't have a publisher or a cookbook deal, and I have no idea how this story will end. I've committed to creating the contents of the book: the stories, the recipes, and the photos, with the hope that (fingers crossed!) someone in the publishing world will be interested in helping me make this story into a physical cookbook. Regardless of the outcome, I'm excited to share the process with you all.
At the end of the day, this is a journey of faith. Years ago, God planted this idea in my heart and He has given me the courage to take these steps. It's amazing what happens when you dedicate yourself to a calling! I love this translation of Goethe's Faust: "Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. The moment one definitely commits oneself, all sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now."
This moment is the result of many small (and big!) miracles, and so many dear friends without whom I'd never have taken this leap of faith. I'm blessed to have some incredible co-collaborators on this project:
Signe Birck, an incredibly talented food photographer (and a good friend of mine), will be shooting the images for the book, here in my apartment. We've been working together for the past two years and have been dreaming of creating a book together - so thankful that it's finally happening!
Dana Tanamachi, one of the most talented artists and graphic designers I know, created beautiful new logos for The Yellow Table and The Cookbook Diaries.
Jean-Luc Le Du, of Le Du Wines, is creating simple, affordable wine pairings for each recipe in the book.
Jenn Elliott Blake, Seattle-based stylist extraordinaire will be lending some of her styling magic to some of the dinner party scenes in the book.
Eric Ryan Anderson (as I already mentioned) created the beautiful intro video, and Jessie Baylin, one of my favorite singers, graciously allowed us to use one of her songs.
Brandon Carl, my incredibly supportive and talented husband (who happens to be a tech genius) beautifully redesigned the blog to launch The Cookbook Diaries, and has spent countless hours helping me bring this dream into reality. This project would have never seen the light of day without his love and support.
You can follow The Cookbook Diaries here at The Yellow Table, as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also, sign up (on the right of the homepage) for weekly newsletters! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas along the way - I want this to be book that you feel proud to have been a part of from the ground up.
(All photos by Signe Birck.)