The Art of the Cookbook

The art of the cookbook

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Explore the history of the cookbook

Large glossy photographs, page-long introductions, a list of ingredients, a method. Cookbooks haven't always looked like this. Anne Willan, founder of La Varenne in Paris and an expert in old cookbooks, joins contemporary food publisher Sarah Lavelle and award-winning cookbook designer Caz Hildebrand to discuss how cookbooks have evolved. Chaired by food writer Jill Norman.

Caz Hildebrand is the award-winning designer of sumptuous best-selling cookbooks by Nigella Lawson, Yotam Ottolenghi and Sam and Sam Clark of Moro. In 2010 Caz created The Geometry of Pasta with leading chef Jacob Kenedy of London’s Bocca di Lupo. Her book Herbarium was published by Thames & Hudson in 2016, and other books include The Grammar of Spice, This Is Me, Full Stop (with Philip Cowell) and An Anarchy of Chillies (coming August 2018). Caz is one of the Creative Partners at Here Design.

Sarah Lavelle is publishing director at Quadrille, a leading publisher of illustrated books specialising in food and drink, including the work of chefs Antonio Carluccio, Michel Roux Snr and James Martin.

Jill Norman’s culinary career began when she created the food and wine list for Penguin Books. In the process she learned to appreciate and to cook foods from many parts of the world. This led to travels in pursuit of food and drink, and research into herbs and spices, and she has become acknowledged internationally as a herbs and spices authority. Her books have been widely translated and won awards in many countries. Jill is literary trustee of the Elizabeth David Estate, a trustee of the Jane Grigson Trust, and a founder-member of the Oxford Food Symposium. She has recorded her life story for the National Sound Archive at the British Library.

Anne Willan is recognised as one of the world’s preeminent authorities on French cooking. In 1975 she founded École de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris. Inducted into the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame for her 'body of work' in 2013, Anne has more than 50 years of experience as a teacher, cookbook author, culinary historian and food columnist. She has written more than 30 books, including the influential La Varenne Pratique and the 17-volume, photo-illustrated Look and Cook series. Anne is currently an honorary trustee of the International Association of Culinary Professionals’ Culinary Trust and serves on the Advisory Council of The Julia Child Foundation, as well as on the Advisory Board of Zester Daily, a website reporting on the culture of food and drink around the world.

Image: from Beeton's Every-day Cookery and Housekeeping Book, etc. by Isabella Mary Beeton


Name: The Art of the Cookbook
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
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When: -
Price: Full Price: £12.00
Member: £8.00
Senior 60+: £10.00
Student: £8.00
Registered Unemployed: £8.00
Under 18: £8.00
Friend of the British Library: £8.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546