Cookbook Writing 101

By • July 17, 2012 • 2 Comments

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"There is no money in cookbooks."

It is the reprise of many a chef-author, and an unfortunate truth in the culinary world. But it has had little effect on chefs like Alice Hart, who published three cookbooks in the last two years. For aspiring authors out there, Hart wants you to know that even though recipe development is exhausting and may not be lucrative, it can be tremendously rewarding. 

Hart, who was a 2012 Piglet contender, writes for The Guardian detailing the needed inputs for a great cookbook: knowledge/speciailization, research, testing, gentle (but not overt) plaigarism, simplicity, and a thick skin. Authoring cookbooks is a tough business - and one populated by many brilliant chefs and writers. A publishable book has to tell a story, it is equal parts autobiography and recipe book. 

Above all, cookbook writing ought to be the result of a passion for food and for educating readers. Unless you are already famous, making a living by writing books is just not going to work, but it is a great way to live - if for no other reason than recipe development results in a lot of delicious food. 

How to Write Your First Cookbook from The Guardian

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Comments (2)


over 2 years ago krusher

For clear, infallible recipe writing in the published world, Simon Hopkinson is out there on his own. Every recipe works and makes sense. David Tanis is right behind him. They are my super guides but, in truth, there is much charm in the recipe writing of many including our own boulangere in our food52 community. What I love about the food52 and the wider food blogging community is the essence of sharing and support. I honor them all.


over 2 years ago Kitchen Butterfly

I love the honesty with which we hold budding writers up while gently setting them down, but not in a hard way. I am off to read the tips.