Cookbook store profile: Featuring Books for Cooks in LondonDecember 15, 2013 by Lindsay
Recently we began to offer a new EYB feature highlighting independent cookbook stores. Now you can discover (or get reacquainted with) a store near your home – or plan a new target destination when you travel.
And to make this as strong a feature as we can, we’re asking our members to help us. We already know of many great stores, which we keep an ongoing list of (you can view them here), but we’d love to learn about more – especially those treasured by our members. So please share the names of independent cookbook stores that you know, love, admire, or are just plain crazy about. Add a comment to this posting, or email us at email@example.com with the name, address, and owner (if you know it). We’ll do the rest.
This month we’re visiting with Eric Treuille, co-owner of Books for Cooks, located just off the Portobello Road in the Notting Hill area of London. Besides offering thousands of titles, the store has both a café and a test kitchen where cooking classes are taught. We started our Q&A discussing those features:
EYB: What does the café and test kitchen contribute to a cookbook store?
We’re able to put theory into practice. Food here is not just something to be perused in books, it is something to be cooked, eaten and enjoyed. We can then really champion the books in which we know the recipes really work. It makes us more than a cook book shop – a shop for all cooks!
Specifically, the café works because the food is great, it’s cheap, and the focus is on the books that we are cooking from. And we developed the workshops and cooking classes because people have become more interested in getting the most from their cookbooks, including how to use a recipe properly. So the demonstrator isn’t as important as the book.
EYB: Books for Cooks was set up before online bookstores started up. How have you tried to compete in the new trading environment?
I’m not trying to compete in the trading environment – I don’t believe in chasing what everyone else is doing. I do what I have to do. And I’m not into the internet. Until publishers stop publishing cookbooks I will keep opening every day and selling books – testing and demonstrating them, talking to authors and supporting the professional trade. I don’t want an office job, I want a retail business.
EYB: Why do the customers in your store prefer to come to Books for Cooks?
I think they know we love our product and do everything we need to to understand the books we sell and make good recommendations. Our recommendations are based on fully tried and tested knowledge – we try to really know what we are talking about. And while we don’t focus on any particular area to cookbook type, we like to say we specialize in good cookbooks.
EYB: What are the big sellers at Books for Cooks?
- Little Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo
- Sud de France by Caroline Conran
- Made in Italy and Made in Sicily by Giorgio Locatelli
- Catalan Cuisine by Colman Andrews
- Moro: the Cookbook and Casa Moro: the Second Cookbook by Samantha & Samuel Clark
- Thai Street Food by David Thompson
- Bill’s Basics and Bill’s Everyday Asian by Bill Granger
- The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters
- Everything by Elizabeth David
- Four Seasons Cookery Book by Margaret Costa
- Pitt Cue by Tom Adams, et al
- Canapés by Eric Treuille
- 200 skills Every Cooks Must Have by Clara Paul
- River Cottage Veg Every Day! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
- Veggiestan and Snackistan by Sally Butcher
EYB: What type of books do you like to cook from yourself? Do you have a favorite cookbook of all time?
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