The Art of Eating announces finalists for its new best food book competition

CookbooksCookbook awards season will soon be in full swing, and this year features a new competition from The Art of Eating, a quarterly magazine described by the Wall Street Journal as “America’s most erudite and and prestigious food publication.” Last fall, the magazine announced that it would offer a prize for the year’s best book about food. Whereas other cookbook awards usually assign books to categories, The Art of Eating Prize “focuses on a single best book. The founders of the prize, by rewarding the highest quality work, hope to encourage the excellence of food writing in general.”

Beginning in late 2014, publishers were each allowed to nominate three books from their imprint. A committee of five independent cookbook stores (Rabelais in Maine, Kitchen Arts & Letters in New York City, The Cook Book Stall in Philadelphia, The Book Larder in Seattle, and Omnivore Books in San Francisco) was assembled to nominate up to two self-published books. Each title had to be aimed at a broad audience and be published in the US in 2014.

Eighty-four books were initially nominated; the entries were winnowed to an initial longlist of twelve books announced on February 2. The list has been further winnowed to six finalists: Charcutería  by Jeffrey Weiss, Cumin, Camels, and Caravans  by Gary Paul Nabhan, In Search of the Perfect Loaf  by Samuel Fromartz, Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef  by Massimo Bottura, Relæ: A Book of Ideas  by Christian Puglisi, and Yucatán: Recipes From a Culinary Expedition  by David Sterling.

The winner will be announced on March 2, 2015. This judges for this inaugural competition are Nancy Harmon Jenkins, Harold McGee, Garrett Oliver, Daniel Patterson, Tejal Rao, Lucas Wittmann, and Winnie Yang. This diverse panel includes a chef, two editors, a historian, a brewer, two restaurant critics, and a food science expert. Each judge was also allowed to nominate two books.

Visit The Art of Eating’s website to read comments from the judges about each finalist.

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  • ellabee  on  February 20, 2015

    Disappointed to see that none of the books by women that made the list of twelve moved on to the final round.

  • darcie_b  on  February 21, 2015

    Interesting observation. Wonder if that has to do with the mostly male judging panel?

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