When my friends Patty and Lauren had their baby Audra this year, we had lots of conversations leading up to it about doulas and midwives and anesthesia. None of those things were relevant for my own personal pregnancy, though: over the past three years, I’ve been giving birth to a book.
And today that book is finally here. SECRETS OF THE BEST CHEFS arrives at this very moment and it really does feel like a birth: the build-up, the agony, the ecstasy, and, at the end of it all, a thing that exists that didn’t exist before I created it.
Remember that time I told that joke about how I was going to blog my book tour as it happened? That was a hilarious joke! Because, as you might imagine, things got a little crazy after I wrote that. It became impossible to blog my tour as it happened and now, a few days after my Googleplex post, I’m feeling guilty about ever making that promise.
So let’s rewind. After the Eataly dinner, but before flying to San Francisco, I hosted a panel discussion in Brooklyn at the Greenlight Book Store with Amanda Hesser and Jonathan Waxman (seen above in a picture by Lizzie).
If my ears are made of ashes today, that’s because they’ve never burned harder than they did on Tuesday night when Lidia Bastianich–one of my food world heroes–introduced me at the first of two Eataly dinners we’re doing to launch my new cookbook. (The 2nd dinner, on November 9th, still has seats available here.) The whole night was surreal. Before the guests arrived, Ann Bramson, Artisan’s legendary publisher, came by to toast the book with me, Judy (my indefatigable editor) and Molly (my impressive publicist who arranged for this whole dinner, as well as all the dinners coming up). Then came the guests, friends and family, including my beaming parents.
At long last my cookbook, SECRETS OF GREAT CHEFS, is here! I am over-the-moon excited–exhilarated!–to finally share this 400-page labor-of-love with you. As many of you know, I’ve been working on this project since May 2010 when I announced the book to you all. Since then I’ve cooked with over 50 of the best chefs in the country, learned over 150 of their recipes and adapted them all for the home cook (that’s you). Click HERE to visit the SECRETS book page where I’ll tell you all about the book in great detail, share pictures and sample pages and even a video, then you can click over to one of the book sellers at the top and pre-order a book to arrive on your doorstep September 10th, when it’s finally released. If you’re kind enough to do that, let me know here in the comments or on Twitter or over e-mail so I can thank you individually. Any support you can give at this early stage is most appreciated. Needless to say, I’m so psyched to finally have this book out there…and for you to see what I’ve been pouring my heart and soul into these last few years. I just know you’re going to love it.
Well, folks, today was the big day. At 9:30 AM I met with Lizzie, my constant companion and photographer over the past year, so she could hand over the discs with all of her pictures and the match prints (hard copies) for me to deliver, along with my manuscript, to my publisher, Artisan Books. And so it was that after we sipped cappuccino (Lizzie) and iced coffee (me) and Brendan the barrista kindly snapped that photo you see above, I journeyed south on 6th Avenue down to Houston, over to Varick and up the elevator to my publisher to hand things over.
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!”