Eat My Words

3 Oct

I recently attended an event put on by the Portland Culinary Alliance called Eat My Words: Chef Cookbooks. The Portland Culinary Alliance is an educational and networking organization for food and beverage professionals, and this particular event was a cookbook symposium and luncheon targeting chefs and culinary entrepreneurs interested in having their own book published. The event, held at The Hotel deLuxe, was hosted by cookbook author Diane Morgan and chef-owner Adam Sappington of The Country Cat Dinner House, and granted guests exclusive access to an esteemed panel of Pacific Northwest chef-authors. Attendees listened to each chef discuss their adventures in cookbook writing, including the intricacies of dealing with agents, proposals, ghost-writers, photography contracts and “buy-backs.” Later attendees were treated to a four course lunch put on by Chef Mark Hosack of Gracie’s, featuring the recipes from the chef’s cookbooks.

It was easy convincing Mom to be my +1 for the day. In fact, it was her idea to go in the first place. She knew I was complaining about writer’s block and was in need of some inspiration. She rang me with this unique opportunity, convinced it would do the trick. Upon our arrival, we mingled over coffee and pastries with the other writers, cookbook collectors, and restaurant owners in the room. One person I was ecstatic to meet in person was Doris Rodriguez de Platt, affectionately known as Mama Doris, of Andina Restaurant fame. For the past seven years Doris and her family have intoxicated Portland’s Pearl District with the exciting and creative flavors of novoPeruvian food. I was pleased to learn that Mama Doris, who was escorted by the lovely Nina Lary, also has aspirations of writing a cookbook. I assured her that I for one would be first in line to buy one of her cookbooks—if only to get the recipes for the quinoa-encrusted prawns.

The experienced panel did not disappoint. The intimacy of the group encouraged honest answers- even when it concerned the nitty-gritty of their contracts, the black-lash from failing to properly test recipes, and the “off-hands” parenting style from publishers. I enjoyed hearing about the not-so-glamorous parts about writing a book. I am coming to the realization that similar to cooking, I cannot write with the intention of becoming well-known for it. I need to write because it’s an itch I cannot scratch.

Eat My Words Menu

October 2nd, 2010

Scones, Muffins, and Coffeecake

The Grand Central Baking Book

Piper Davis and Ellen Jackson

Chevre with Cyprus Black Flake Sea Salt and Cacao Nibs

Salted: A Manifesto on the World’s Most Essential Mineral, With Recipes

Mark Bitterman

Gnocchetti with Pancetta, Chanterelles, and Mint

Ethan Stowell’s New Italian Kitchen

Ethan Stowell and Leslie Miller

Poppy Seed-Crusted Albaccore Tuna with Chickpea Puree and Fennel Salad

The Paley’s Place Cookbook

Vitaly Paley and Kimberly Paley with Robert Reynolds

Upside-Down Pear Chocolate Cake

Rustic Fruit Desserts

Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson


Since 1987, The Portland Culinary Alliance has provided educational programs and invaluable networking for chefs, educators, nutritionists, winemakers, entrepreneurs, cookbook authors, food journalists and others whose work or studies relate to the food and beverage bounty of our region. We just so happen to be members of this alliance and I would encourage you to do the same. For more information and a list of events please visit

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