Friday, February 3, 2012

The Prequel Update for The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook

Today is Groundhog Day 2012.  In too many ways, writing and producing The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook has felt like more than a passing resemblance to the movie, “Groundhog Day” and its always-present/never-ending storyline.
So it seems more than fitting to pick up the thread of the book’s storyline…

You see, last year at just about this exact time, I was getting ready to hit the “send” button on the final Author’s Edits for the book, when I received an email and call from my editor to hold on.  Management wanted to double the size of the book! 
While exciting to get to meet a dozen more master chefs and the artisanal growers who inspire them, I was understandably nervous and concerned about yet another year going by without being published. 
Long story short: the book started in 2003.  There were some key twists and turns that is a book in and of itself and I have written about those hurdles, including the migration from New York City focus with Hamptons inclusion to Hamptons & Long Island feature, to hard drive crash…   All overcome and the book is stronger for it.

Nevertheless, the gauntlet was thrown down.  Last year this time I was given about a three-month deadline to identify, secure interviews, and write the profiles for a dozen more chefs and growers. That’s roughly 24 feature profiles.  Not counting husband and wife teams. 
And then there is all the scheduling.  Chefs are waayy too busy, as are farmers and fisherman…

But there was no way I wasn’t going to do it and complete the book.
I had come so far.
Not to be overlooked, I also felt such a strong obligation to honor those chefs and growers that I had already completed and who were just as eagerly anticipating the book as I was.
So I was back to the starting gate.

After rigorous, intense research, it wasn’t long before I had selected the additional master chefs I wanted.
I was also keen to open up the growers to include not just vegetable growers to include honey farmers, duck farmers, oyster growers, and wine makers.  Excellent variety that added great stories and a compelling compliment.

Soon I was back out on the Island for photography sessions and interviews. 
I have to share one of my earliest images of getting ready to hit the road after taking the jitney from Manhattan. 
Waiting for the rental car, I was more than a bit surprised to see men with guns outside the window.  
Wow.  All I could think was, we’re not in Gotham anymore, Dorothy!

Andrews Family Farm, Riverhead, chef Lia Fallon's inspired grower
But the book’s photographer and I are intrepid foodies with lots of fascinating chefs and growers to meet – so off we go.  Out onto the bucolic roads lined with farms and vineyards and waterways that is Long Island….  

Shelter Island 18 Bay Chefs Elizabeth & Adam with Karen Lee,  Sang Lee Farms 
Long Island vineyard

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