IACP announces cookbook award finalists

cookbook collage

The IACP announced the list of finalists for its prestigious cookbook awards on Wednesday. While everyone was surprised in 2014 by the self-published Stone Edge Farm Cookbook taking top honors, don't expect any similar shocks this year. Most of the nominees are well-established authors and chefs, and the only self-published book on the list is in the Food Matters category.

Competition is fierce in the Baking category, as three of the most revered authors of the genre are pitted against each other. Dorie Greenspan's Baking Chez Moi, Alice Medrich's Flavor Flours, and Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Baking Bible are the nominees in this category, which will make the judges' decision quite difficult. Baking Chez Moi and Flavor Flours went head-to-head in Food52's The Piglet competition, with Medrich's book edging out Greenspan's. But are either of them a match for Beranbaum's comprehensive tome?

Sean Brock's ode to Southern cooking, Heritage, made the biggest splash. The book is nominated in three categories: American, Chefs and Restaurants, and KitchenAid Julia Child First Book. Critics have raved about Heritage, so it seems poised to take home at least one award. Southern cooking is riding a wave of popularity, as Donald Link's Down South and The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook are also nominated in the American category. The remaining nominee--Farm Fork Food--is similar in that the book evokes memories of simpler times, when farm-to-table was the norm and not a movement.

The Chefs and Restaurants category also features heavyweight contenders Plenty More and The Slanted Door. Nominee Bar Tartine is the underdog, if that appellation can be applied to anyone in this group, as the cookbook has been criticized for being overly complicated.

EYB Member favorite David Lebovitz's My Paris Kitchen is nominated twice, once in Literary Food Writing and also in International along with Dorie Greenspan for Baking Chez Moi. The dark horse in International might be North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland by Gunnar Karl Gíslason and Jody Eddy.

The General category is a head-scratcher for me as the nominees are quite diverse. Saveur's The New Classics Cookbook vies for honors against School of Fish by Ben Pollinger and Twelve Recipes by Cal Peternell. I would think School of Fish would belong in the Single Subject or Chefs and Restaurants categories. Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Practical Pantry, which is nominated in Single Subject, seems more 'general' than School of Fish. The other entrants in that category are Bitter by Jennifer McLagan and MEAT by Pat LaFrieda.

You can see all of the IACP-nominated cookbooks here. Visit the IACP blog to read about the cookbook nominees and the related Bert Greene writing award nominees. The winners of both competitions will be announced on March 29. Where are you placing your bets?

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