Cookbook store profile: Featuring Books for Cooks in London

Books for Cooks

Recently we began to offer a new EYB feature highlighting independent cookbook stores. Now you can discover (or get reacquainted with) a store near your home - or plan a new target destination when you travel.

And to make this as strong a feature as we can, we're asking our members to help us. We already know of many great stores, which we keep an ongoing list of  (you can view them here), but we'd love to learn about more - especially those treasured by our members. So please share the names of independent cookbook stores that you know, love, admire, or are just plain crazy about. Add a comment to this posting, or email us at info@eatyourbooks.com with the name, address, and owner (if you know it). We'll do the rest.

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This month we're visiting with Eric Treuille, co-owner of Books for Cooks, located just off the Portobello Road in the Notting Hill area of London. Besides offering thousands of titles, the store has both a café and a test kitchen where cooking classes are taught. We started our Q&A discussing those features:

EYB: What does the café and test kitchen contribute to a cookbook store?

We're able to put theory into practice. Food here is not just something to be perused in books, it is something to be cooked, eaten and enjoyed. We can then really champion the books in which we know the recipes really work. It makes us more than a cook book shop - a shop for all cooks!

Specifically, the café works because the food is great, it's cheap, and the focus is on the books that we are cooking from. And we developed the workshops and cooking classes because people have become more interested in getting the most from their cookbooks, including how to use a recipe properly. So the demonstrator isn't as important as the book.

EYB: Books for Cooks was set up before online bookstores started up.  How have you tried to compete in the new trading environment?

I'm not trying to compete in the trading environment - I don't believe in chasing what everyone else is doing. I do what I have to do. And I'm not into the internet. Until publishers stop publishing cookbooks I will keep opening every day and selling books - testing and demonstrating them, talking to authors and supporting the professional trade. I don't want an office job, I want a retail business.

EYB: Why do the customers in your store prefer to come to Books for Cooks?

I think they know we love our product and do everything we need to to understand the books we sell and make good recommendations. Our recommendations are based on fully tried and tested knowledge - we try to really know what we are talking about. And while we don't focus on any particular area to cookbook type, we like to say we specialize in good cookbooks.

EYB: What are the big sellers at Books for Cooks?

EYB: What type of books do you like to cook from yourself?  Do you have a favorite cookbook of all time?

My personal favorite books are from Richard Olney, eg. Simple French Food and Lulu Grimes, e.g. World Kitchen-Italy,  but I like cooking from all cookbooks, trying everything.

4 Comments

  • boardingace  on  12/15/2013 at 6:10 PM

    This sounds like such a cool bookstore.

  • sir_ken_g  on  12/15/2013 at 8:11 PM

    So I bought one of his favorites but I could not buy it from him.

  • jenniesb  on  12/18/2013 at 12:27 PM

    I love that you profiled this bookstore. When we were in London for a vacation last year I dragged my fiancee all over Notting Hill trying to find this place. I was NOT leaving London until I visited the store and it did not disappoint. They have a cute little cafe in the back where you can pick up a nice baked treat and keep browsing. This is a gem of a (cook) bookstore.

  • Queezle_Sister  on  12/18/2013 at 6:18 PM

    Darn, just returned from London and missed this. Ah well, maybe I will be back soon.

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