By Olivia Snaije
PARIS: The first edition of the Paris Cookbook Festival wrapped up on Monday with most participants judging the specialized trade fair a delicious success, barring minor complaints about lack of signage and poor heating.
While for some smaller French publishers with books aimed specifically at the French market, it was less of a positive experience, the larger French houses with budgets for acquisitions found it very useful. And publishers and authors coming from abroad seemed generally pleased with the contacts they made.
For Los Angeles based self-published author and chef Robert Danhi, whose book Southeast Asian Flavors won a Gourmand Award for Best Asian Cuisine in the USA, the fair was a chance to find international distribution. Instead, he found French and British publishers who were interested in acquiring rights to his book.
Edouard Cointreau (son of the Fair’s founder, also called Edouard Cointreau) who was assisting with the show, said that the Fair for many could be encapsulated in the example of Paolo Dalcò’s, director of Italian publishing house Food Editore: Dalcò rented a 9 x 2 meter stand this year, but after selling rights for several of his books to a French publisher, reserved a 30 x 2 meter stand for 2011.
Cointreau said Gourmand would like to add to the convivial atmosphere next year by getting publishers to sit down for or a meal together, much like at the Gourmand Awards’ traditional dinner in Frankfurt during which many rights sales are sealed.
Richard Schlagman, chairman of Phaidon, was on the prowl in the rights center where Cointreau said he made a beeline for several tomes.
One of these was this year’s Gourmand Awards world’s best cookbook winner, the beautiful and hefty God’s Cookbook: Tracing the Culinary Traditions of the Levant by Jamie d’Antioc. A mix of history, religion and recipes, God’s Cookbook is Geneva-based Arcadian Lifestyle Publishing’s first book.
Its publisher, William Bryant, admitted he was a little dazed finding so much success so quickly — and the fact that he was already in talks with companies such as Phaidon and Hachette.
For Elmari Swart, founder of Cheviot Publishing of Cape Town, South Africa, the Paris fair was the first international show her company had attended.
Cheviot has published three books, including The Essential Guide to South African Wines which generated much interest.
“We will have to see how this will translate into business,” said Swart, adding, “Because we’re so far away, coming to the Paris fair was very important for us. You can be a little fish in a big pond but if you want to swim in the sea you need to get there.”