Cookbooks can be a launching pad for young chefs

Only a small portion of chefs write cookbooks, and those who do are usually well-established, having been in the business for a number of years. Sometimes, however, young chefs have the chance to pen a book, and for those who do it well it can be a springboard for new opportunities, as Eater reports


The article profiles a few “young guns” whose well-received (and even award-winning) books helped boost their profiles, garnered recognition for their businesses, or provided opportunities to open their own restaurant. One of these young entrepreneurs is Lisa Ludwinski, whose Detroit bakery Sister Pie had only been open about a year when she was apprached by an editor from Ten Speed Press to write a book.

While she could not pass up the opportunity, Ludwinski admits the process was stressful.  “My biggest struggle with writing a book was the feeling of being pulled between the book and being at the bakery,” she says. “Sometimes I felt like I wasn’t able to give either of those things the attention that they needed.” (You can read Jenny’s review of Sister Pie to learn more about the book.)

Another of the so-called “young guns” is newly-minted James Beard Cookbook Award winner JJ Johnson, whose tome Between Harlem and Heaven: Afro-Asian-American Cooking for Big Nights, Weeknights, and Every Day took home the 2019 Award for in the American cookbook category. For Johnson, the book presented a chance to tell a story about a subjectt that hasn’t received as much attention as it should.  “The thing that resonated [for me] was that the book that won the American category was telling the history of the African diaspora,” he says. “I hope the work that I put in pushes the ceiling higher and higher for more people to get credit for the things that belong to them.”

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