Cooking at a Cookbook Fair

I finally got called up to the big leagues. Well… not really “called”. It was an email. Ok, it wasn’t really the big leagues. But it sounded like fun. Let me explain.

The printed version of my cookbook, Fresh Foods, Fresh Ingredients, was published through Blurb Books. Blurb has been doing a series of book fair events promoting different genres in different cities across the country. The cookbook fair was scheduled for San Francisco. I was contacted by Blurb to be a featured cookbook author at the event and cook something from my book for the 350+ guests.

I signed up because I thought it would be a fantastic experience and possibly get some good exposure for me and this blog. I was one of several authors invited to cook and display our respective cookbooks.

I decided to take this opportunity to do a much-needed update to my cookbook to add some recipes (and take care of some typos). I was up against a tight deadline for the first one so I also decided to update the design of the interior pages. There’s nothing like a forced deadline to help me get things done.

I decided to make miso deviled eggs for the event. I learned from all those seasons watching Top Chef that small bite finger-foods seem to go well for these types of events. I would have two hours in the kitchen before the event to prepare so I wanted to get things prepped as much as possible. I’ve never cooked for more than 10 people at one time so I was very conscious of the logistics. I boiled the eggs the night before but decided it would be better for transporting if I waited to peel them. I also premade the bacon bits and cut the chives. Everything was ready to go.


It was a good thing I did the prep-work because directions got mixed up and I got to the kitchen an hour late. The kitchen was also packed so we spent another half-hour finding and clearing a workspace for me. Fortunately, two young ladies who were serving for the event volunteered to help me by peeling all the eggs. I feel like I got a little taste of what it would be like to be on a cooking show. The kitchen was full of people trying to get their dishes done, the event was starting and people were calling on me to get something out there.

I decided to make two separate batches because all the eggs needed to be cut in half and the yolks removed in order to make the filling. I set it up as an assembly-line, laying out as many plates as I had space for. I originally wanted to pipe the filling pastry-style for looks but it was quickly apparent that piping was also the quickest way to go.

As I was assembling the plates, a thought occurred to me: “what if people don’t like them and I’m left with a bunch of full little plates at my table?” I forged ahead and let the staff know the first batch was ready to be taken out. I needn’t have worried. The staff was picking them up as quickly as I could finish them.


The idea was to have the plates out at my table and interact with people, tell them about my food and cookbook and also get some feedback. Unfortunately, my ‘table’ was the top of a wine barrel (that’s what happens when you get there last) but, more importantly, I was in the kitchen making these things only slightly slower than people were eating them. I decided to hold back the last batch of plates so I could get out of the kitchen before the eggs were all eaten.

If I needed proof of concept for my miso deviled eggs recipe, I certainly got it. They were gone in the first half-hour of the event. I heard several people walking around the event looking for ‘those eggs’. They were definitely a hit.

There were definitely some stressful moments but it was a great experience and I had a lot of fun doing this event. Thanks to the Blurb team for inviting me to be a part of this. As a photographer, I never expected to cook for a public event and had a blast doing it.

If you are interested in the printed version of Fresh Food, Fresh Ingredients, it can be purchased through Blurb Books.

The updated version of the iBook is awaiting approval by Apple. If you have an iPad or have upgraded to the new Mac OS (Mavericks), there is an expanded, interactive version available through the iTunes Bookstore. You can download now and it will notify you when the new update is available. Updates are free for the life of the book.

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