A bright and unexpected International spotlight is shining on the Okanagan, thanks to the efforts of a first time author who self-published a cookbook, sharing the stories of her home’s culinary community.
The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker – An Okanagan Cookbook is the brainchild of food and wine columnist, Jennifer Schell. Described by Schell as a ‘love letter to all who have created, grown and nurtured our special place on this earth’, the book explores the stories and the relationships between the land, the food, the people and, ultimately the recipes and tastes which reach the table.
Each recipe is not just tablespoons of this and cups of that, but an intimate story of the history and biography of the people who put the food on our plate. With more than 120 contributions from the region’s best chefs, winemakers and food producers, An Okanagan Cookbook brings together the remarkable traditions and kitchen innovations of the Okanagan Valley that is quickly establishing itself as a culinary destination.
It’s this unique approach to a cookbook that has it winning awards and acclaim from around the world:
• Gold Medal IPPY, Best Non-Fiction Western Canada Independent Publisher Award
The “IPPY” Awards were designed to bring increased recognition to the deserving yet often unsung titles published by independent authors and publishers. Established in 1996, it is the first awards program open exclusively to independents. An Okanagan Cookbook was selected as a winner from over 5000 entries from Canada, the US and eight countries overseas.
• Winner – Gourmand World Cookbook Award – Best Local Cuisine Cookbook, Canada and shortlisted for Best in the World at Gourmand World Cookbook Ceremony on May 21. The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards are presented annually to reward and honour those who ‘cook with words’. This prestigious, international competition has been called the Oscars of the cookbook industry.
• Winner – Best Cookbook – Paris Book Festival
The Paris Book Festival Awards celebrates the best of International publishing. Along with the award came a personal note congratulating Schell on her ‘rare triple (win) but it’s an exceptional book!’ recognizing her wins in Paris, San Francisco and the Green Book Festival.
• Winner – Best Cookbook, San Francisco Book Festival
• Honourable Mention, Green Book Festival
Jennifer Schell is at heart a farmer and a passionate champion and supporter of the Okanagan’s vibrant farming and wine industry. With The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine and Cheese Maker – An Okanagan Cookbook, she has created a culinary journey through the valley while sharing the stories and camaraderie of the chefs, winemakers and food producers who work together creating a memorable experience. It’s this journey and its stories that are resonating with both book buyers and awards committees.
An Okanagan Cookbook is available throughout the Okanagan in wineshops, restaurants, independent bookstores, and online.
Schell is currently working on her second book, The Butcher, The Baker, The Wine & Cheese Maker – By the Sea with chefs, farmers and winemakers in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island.