Sunday, 21 February 2016

5 Questions - Kitchen Press - Independent Cookery Publisher

Over the last few years I have had the opportunity to tell the story of so many businesses and people who work within the food and drink industry by asking them 5 Questions. Most of the stories that have been published in the past are of producers, chefs or businesses that I have met along my travels but now and again, I am contacted by an individual or business who would like to answer their own set of questions and be seen on Gerry's Kitchen.
Emily Dewhurst of Dundee based publishers Kitchen Press, an award-winning independent publisher specialising in food writing, contacted me to let me know about her business and after spending just a few minutes on the Kitchen Press website, I just knew that there was a story waiting to be told. The team at Kitchen Press work with independent restaurants and chefs to create bespoke illustrated cookbooks that capture the flavours that make them unique.
Now in their fifth year, Kitchen Press are just about to launch their seventh book, The Greenwich Market Cookbook which will showcase recipes from some of the traders who operate out of London's oldest covered market.

Here's Emily's story;
How did you get started?
Kitchen Press was one of those ideas that kept on nagging at me until I did something about it. There's a very small and very good cafe in Dundee called The Parlour – the only place in the city at the time that had a truly diverse menu that changed every day and a strong and loved identity. It was and remains a cafe that Dundonians are proud of. I suggested doing a book to the owner, Gillian Veal. Our aim was to conjure up a picture of the perfect neighbourhood cafe, even if the reader had never been to The Parlour. With Gillian's background as an artist we also both felt that we wanted to create something that captured the vibe of the place without using photography. Jen Collins created the beautiful illustrations which have ended up being very defining in the way that our books look.

That first book, The Parlour Cafe Cookbook, did way better than we ever could have imagined, selling out its initial print run in under 3 weeks, and winning a Gourmand Award for best first cookbook in Scotland. We're still reprinting it 5 years later.
What’s the best piece of business advice you could give?
It's your business, so run it the way it suits you, and work with people who excite you. What I really love about Kitchen Press is the way it opens up the path for collaboration – with chefs, with restaurants, with street food traders, with illustrators and photographers and designers.
Where would you like to see your business in 5 years time?
Some of the most interesting food out there is being cooked by owner/chefs in independent restaurants, and so I want to keep flying the flag for those guys and producing beautiful books that tell their stories and captures what it is that is so special about them. We're also working on a series of books based around food markets – Recipes from Brixton Village came out in 2014, The Greenwich Market Cookbook is due out next month – and the market movement doesn't look like its going to run out of steam any time soon. So, in five years time, I'd like to see that series covering the UK and beyond. I love to travel and I'm always hungry. I had an incredible lunch in the Mercado del Puerto in Montevideo a few years ago – it's a covered food market that is now packed with parillas – wood-fired grills that specialise in barbecuing every possibly part of the prime Uruguyan beef cattle. Now that would make a good book...
If you could only cook one of your published recipes, what would it be & why?
Too hard to choose! But, in a pinch, I'd probably go for the seafood gumbo in The Savoy Kitchen – A Family History of Cajun Food.

The seafood here in Scotland is right up there with the seafood from Lousiana's gulf coast, and a gumbo is not only a great way to eat it, but a great way to have a party at the same time. Sarah Savoy is pretty much Cajun royalty, and her recipe is definitive and utterly delicious.
You can invite one person (living or dead) to your last meal – Who would it be and why? …and what’s on the menu?
My mum. We'd go to El Bigotes in Ibiza and eat their fantastic Bullit de Peix at a table right by the sea. It’s my favourite restaurant, and she would have loved it. Then I'd get her to make a shoofly pie for pudding and finally show me what's in it.

The Greenwich Market Cookbook goes on sale soon and will be be available in all good bookshops, or you can pre-order directly from Kitchen Press.
I would like to thank Kitchen Press for getting in touch and for taking the time to answer 5 Questions. I'm also keen to see The Greenwich Market Cookbook when it hits the shelves. I love food markets so can't wait to see which traders recipes have made it into print and hopefully have the chance to recreate some of their recipes in Gerry's Kitchen.
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