27 January 2014

Cookbook Boot Camp

I took off a few days and headed South to Charleston, South Carolina by way of the famous New River Gorge. I spent a few days ay the Lee Bros. Cookbook Boot Camp. Not too long ago, Matt and Ted Lee set up a boot camp to get chefs focused and ready to write and ultimately publish their first cookbook.

I read about the boot camp which was geared to chefs. Since I was a blogger, I wasn't sure if they would let me in. Later on the year, they are conducting a session for bloggers in Brooklyn. After some e-mails, Matt e-mailed and said they thought I might fit in with the Charleston group. I answered a questionnaire and several weeks latter, headed down Charleston.


There were 6 people in the boot camp, chefs, former chefs, a cooking instructor and yours truly. Now, generally, this type of “workshop” event is set up in some Marriot anteroom with unflattering lighting, bad coffee, and soggy pastry. But this event is a Lee Bros event, proving that it doesn’t matter where you are born, you can always become a Southern gentleman.

The boot camp took place in an old Charleston house, complete with pocket doors, a porch, and a fireplace, that many folks thought was necessary, since it was a frigid 55 degrees! The week before the wind chill in Shirley was 20 below. BELOW! The weather in Charleston was like a spring day.


The night before the boot camp, the Lee Bros. hosted the campers for an oyster roast. The next morning work began at 8 a.m. Not one to complain though 8 a.m. seemed a tad uncivilized, but the coffee was excellent. Charleston has never been a big “bakery” town until the last year or so, when several great bakeries set up shop and Matt and Ted knew them all. No soggy hotel pastry for us.

The first day was a series of hands-on writing exercises to articulatethe reasons and focus of the cookbook. Butcher and Bee, a sandwich shop written up in every food magazine from hell to breakfast, catered lunch. More writing and talking through ideas followed lunch. That night, we met for dinner at McCrady’s, where we were treated to a special Boot Camp Dinner.

The second day (yes, at 8 a.m.) was a nuts and bolts look at what it takes to actually put together a cookbook, from testing recipes, to photographers, to agents, to publishing. That day, the most famous caterer in Charleston, Hamby, catered lunch. It was an elegant and very Southern. There were tea sandwiches on crust less white bread with shrimp or tuna paste, deviled eggs, and petite fours. The Lee Bros. said that Hamby catered so many events in Charleston that people could walk into an event and tell you the price schedule the event had purchased. After another jam-packed afternoon, we headed over to the lovely home of Cathy Forrester for some goodbye bubbly and a ride on the joggling board.

If you think you might just be ready to write that cookbook, I can't think of better teachers than the Lee Bros. Check out the boot camp here.

Update: I was supposed to mention that the oyster roast was at Fleet Landing and our chef that night, Drew Hedlund, was a camper. But no one sent me pictures at Fleet Landing and I had a picture of the McCrady 's menu!


1 comment:

  1. Lucinda, It was a pleasure to meet you and take the course with you. I am looking forward to reading your blog and purchasing your cookbook! Warm regards, Beth Ellis


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