I recently had a chance to sit down with The Yellow Table Cookbook by Anna Watson Carl. WOW! In addition to being a sweet friend and wonderful person to collaborate with, Anna is a private chef, NYC based food writer, and Author of The Yellow Table Blog.
There a lot of things that are remarkable about how this book was created. Once Anna made the decision to write the book, there was no stopping her! She developed and tested over 100 recipes for the book in 100 days, documenting the process in her series The Cookbook Diaries. All the action, from recipe development and testing to the shooting of the book itself, took place in Anna’s 6th floor walk up. That element certainly added another layer of logistics to an already ambitious project.
As the project progressed, so too did the level of collaboration. Of course Anna’a husband Brandon was on board from the start as the Chief Advisor, but by the end, Sommelier Jean-Luc lu Dû, Designer Dana Tanamachi-Williams, Photographer Eric Ryan Anderson, Photographer Nate Poekert, Designer Katie King Rumford, and Editor Lauren Salkeld would all have a hand in the project. Also in on the project was Danish born, NYC based food-photographer Signe Birck, who shot all the recipes for the book using natural light in Anna’s apartment. The images are honest and beautiful. Anna lovingly and humbly refers to the book as a “community -sourced endeavor”. Indeed!
All the elements were in play- tasty (and tested!), well-written recipes, thoughtful images, fab design, delicious wine pairings. Now the tough part: how to pay for the book?
Anna launched a Kickstarter campaign last June, and organized a cross-country road trip with dinner parties in 8 cities, collaborating with other bloggers to co-host each gathering and help promote her book project on their blogs. She partnered with several large brands as well: Volkswagen lent her a car and Whole Foods donated all of the groceries and wine for the parties. Not only was the trip an amazing experience, but Anna went above and beyond her goal, pre-selling nearly 2,000 books and raising $66,000 in 6 weeks, which covered the costs of the first print run.
Ambitious, right? Again, wow! All the hard work paid off – the book itself is gorgeous. The recipes are well written and well tested, using easy to source ingredients. Lovely photography and hand-drawn illustrations, as well as wine pairings, accompany the recipes. The photos and design are fantastic! Every ounce of effort that went into this book is evident, right down to the hard cover, paper choice and printing (printed in the USA- somewhat of a rarity in today’s cookbook market!).
I am so proud of Anna for this accomplishment. It was amazing to watch the project unfold, and I am completely inspired by the story of how this book came to life. It is truly wonderful to see someone take a dream and turn it into a reality though hard work, dedication, and collaboration. I highly recommend adding the book to your collection, or giving it as a gift to your favorite cook. Bravo, Anna and crew for a delicious triumph!
You can order The Yellow Table cookbook online here.
All Photos by Signe Birck except the one immediately above, by Nate Poekert.