What inspired you to write your book?
When I first started work on this book concept in 2002 I had the idea that gardens are peerless; that because gardens are so utterly beautiful – so inspiring — it could be said that mother nature is responsible for no less than giving birth to the magic of artistic endeavor.
It was more than the notion that gardens are just pretty to look at or sit in, but indeed, I believe their very essence captivates us and elevates us to create.
I knew that gardens had been igniting passions and fueling artists from painters to sculpturers to writers and musicians throughout the ages.
And none more so than the culinary artist, because they utilize the garden’s bounty in making their transporting, artisanal signature recipes.
I wanted to further explore the nexus where garden art meets and fuels other art, beginning with the culinary artist.
About your Book:
Told in a rare collection of loving profiles & beautiful color photographs, The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook captures the authentic & delicious homegrown ingredients produced by the artisanal food growers and the majestic land and seascapes that are the romantic hallmarks of the Island’s food culture. Inspired by the terroir and the growers, the book celebrates that distinctive, inspired cuisine and lifestyle — bursting with flavorful recipes from the area’s best locavore chefs.
If cooking, eating, gardening, & entertaining are a obsessive passions, you will delight in the food & drink stories and delicious recipes found in The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook, as it takes you on a private tour of outstanding chefs & artisanal growers that will inspire your homegrown menus for years to come.
Cuisine Style or Food Genre
homegrown, locavore ingredients/Seasonal
Sample Recipe or Food Advice
Use the best, freshest, local ingredients and do as little as possible to them
What formats are your books in
How do you see writing a food/cookbook as different from writing other genres of books?
It is different in that the food stories are not fiction albeit more often dream-inducing. Each story needs to be fresh and unique so that the reader doesn’t see just another chef or tomato recipe. In my book, The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook is a perfect example of this. I didn’t want the reader to get bored, thinking,”OK, they are locavore chefs who follow the seasons and use local ingredients.” Rather the challenge and the intrigue was to bring out what was different and special about each and every chef and their inspired grower. Not easy. I had to dig deep in the interviews and craft the writing so that there was a solid template but peppered with food stories that made the reader want to discover what drives these chefs and growers to go to such extremes to create their food. And the recipes must be tested and presented as bullet-proof so the readers can indeed create the menus as presented. In many ways, though, food/cookbooks do borrow a bit from all other genres — they contain generous ingredients of narrative nonfiction, essay, biography, and fiction, including fantasy, drama, humor, and perhaps poetry carefully mixed and presented. Remember, the eyes eat first!
What advice would you give to someone that is thinking about or currently working on a food book or cookbook
Follow your passion. Know your niche. Research. Write with confidence and curiosity. Recognize that producing a book is art yet a business at the same time and embrace those two elements.
How did you decide how to publish your book and where is it published through:
I wanted to explore how gardens inspire artists – all artists and started with the culinary artist because they use the bounty of the garden directly in their creations. I wanted to discover how locavore chefs discover inspiration from their growers, farmers, fisherman, dairymen, vintners and artisanal food producers to create seasonal, sustainable, and delicious menus. The book demonstrates the special relationship and respect between the chef and their inspired grower and their relationship to the land and the waters. I wanted to tell those challenging and triumphant stories. I am proud to say my book is published through Quayside Voyageur Press.
She writes a Food & Drink column for Examiner.com, curating the food spectrum that dazzles and elevates the radical New York food world.
She writes two blogs.
“Master Chefs and their Gardens” chronicles the making of the book, “The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook,” as well as the nexus of garden art and culinary art, food events, lectures, Greenmarkets, growers, cookbook reviews, and food stories.
“Garden Glamour” is the little black dress for gardeners, highlighting best practices, lectures, garden book reviews, romantic and glamorous gardens and insouciant anecdotes about the humbling world of gardening.
Leeann contributed the chapter Public Relations and Marketing Communications to the successful “Public Garden Management: A Complete Guide to the Planning and Administration of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta.”
Garden Specialist and principal of Duchess Designs, LLC, Leeann designs artful, sustainable gardens that tell stories & are endlessly beguiling–in every season. Leeann received a Certificate in Landscape Design from The New York Botanical Garden. She worked at NYBG and was Director of Communications, Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Leeann is an award-winning landscape designer, earning top honors in the first Broadway in Bloom contest. Two Duchess Designs gardens are featured in “Cottages and Mansions of the Jersey Shore.” Several garden designs are highlighted in NJ Design magazine. Leeann has served as judge for the Greenest Block in Brooklyn contest and the New Jersey Flower and Garden Show. Leeann is a member of MetroHort Group, The Garden Writer’s Association, The Horticultural Society of NY, and The Garden Conservancy. Leeann designed The Garden Pendant Collection. She’s written garden book reviews for The Two River Times and the Wall Street Journal.
Leeann nurtures a small rooftop garden at her home in Gotham, and herb, edible and display gardens at her Garden State home.
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