Big News: The Next Book!

May 6, 2010 | By | COMMENTS

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A few weeks ago, something extraordinary happened.

To understand the extraordinariness of this extraordinary thing, we have to rewind a month or two. I’d been working with an excellent agent, Alison Fargis of The Stonesong Press (who I was introduced to by Matt & Renato of Baked) on a new book proposal. This was a different direction for me; my first book was a book of essays, this proposal was for a cookbook. After eight months of revisions and back-and-forth, the proposal was ready to go out. And a few weeks after it went out, Alison called me and asked if I was sitting down.

“Artisan wants to meet with you,” she said, the excitement obvious in her voice. “This is a really big deal!”

It was a really big deal, it turns out, because Artisan publishes some of the best cookbooks in the industry. All of Thomas Keller’s books (including his latest James Beard award-winning tome, “Ad Hoc at Home”) are published by Artisan. They published “Beyond The Great Wall,” “Hot Sour Salty Sweet,” “A Platter of Figs,” “The Southern Table,” Eric Ripert’s “On The LIne,” Alain Ducasse’s “Flavors of France,” “Bibia’s Italy,” the Food52 Piglet winning cookbook “Seven Fires,” and, most recently, “Mad Hungry.” All of their books are big and beautiful and filled with gorgeous photography and impeccable recipes and extraordinary design. Needless to say, Alison’s news put me in an immediate state of elation and panic.

Elation, because this incredibly selective, highly revered cookbook publisher wanted to meet with me. Panic, because OH MY GOD WHAT IF THEY MEET WITH ME AND SAY NO?

So there was a meeting. At the meeting I met my potential editor, this charming woman named Judy Pray and the lovely P.R. manager, Amy. Also at the meeting was legendary cookbook editor, Ann Bramson, and the president and founder of Workman Publishing (Workman owns Artisan) Peter Workman himself. Everyone seemed excited and interested but, of course, I didn’t want to put the cart before my emotional horse. My agent didn’t help with that when, after the meeting, she said: “That went so well, I can’t wait ’til we get outside so I can jump up and down!”

Time passed. They asked me to revise the proposal to fit their new idea for it. I did. More time passed. I’d obsess over Artisan—on the subway, in the shower, trying to fall asleep at night. And then, at last, the e-mail came:

“I just spoke with Judy at Artisan,” wrote my agent. “And they’re going to make an offer.”

Fireworks! Parades! Explosions!

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that when it came, I accepted. For the next year, I’ll be writing a cookbook for Artisan. (I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence.)

Alas, I can’t tell you too much about it (yet). I’ll simply say that this book will take me all over the country, it’ll involve various characters and personalities–some known, others unknown–and it’ll reflect the spirit, the humor and the passion that drives this blog. I’m hoping this book will become a cookbook that you cherish as much as I plan to cherish the process of writing it.

I’d like to thank my awesome agent, Alison, for making this whole thing possible and Matt & Renato for putting us in touch. Obviously, I’m about to become a very busy beaver (writing, recipe testing, traveling) but with Artisan on my side, I have a very good feeling about this. And so, in the words of Jon Brion on the “Punch-Drunk Love” soundtrack: here we go.

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