“It’s nice when you’re not even looking or putting together a proposal to get a cookbook deal,” says Katie Button. The celebrated chef and co-owner of Asheville’s Cúrate restaurant just signed on with Macmillan Publishers to create her first-ever cookbook.
The book deal fell into Button’s lap when Will Schwalbe, founder of Cookstr.com and executive vice president of Editorial Development and Content Innovation for Macmillan Publishers, dropped in unannounced for a meal at Cúrate while on a search for new talent. He alerted publisher Bob Miller of Macmillan’s new imprint, Flatiron Books. Miller sampled some of Cúrate’s Spanish-inspired tapas cuisine, and soon after, Button received notice that Flatiron Books was interested in having her write a cookbook. Literary agent David Black represented Button, and the deal was announced on Publisher’s Marketplace Jan. 28.
Button, currently immersed in preparations for the Feb. 5 opening of her new late-night spot, Nightbell, says, “The timing felt perfect.” Although she is still putting her cookbook team together (photographer, writer, recipe testers) she is ahead of schedule with her part of the book, which is due in October 2015. “I work well on deadlines,” Button says. “They put the pressure on.” She’s also excited to return focus to Cúrate. “We want to keep it fresh and evolving. We don’t just put up a restaurant and forget it.”
Button will create new recipes for the book, which will focus on Spanish cooking. According to a press release about the deal, the book aims to “show readers how to re-create Spain’s classic dishes in the home kitchen and adapt them using seasonal local ingredients”. The Cúrate Cookbook will feature 125 recipes and four-color photography throughout. No release date has been announced at this time.
According to its website, “Flatiron Books is a new division of Macmillan that will publish 2-3 titles per month, beginning in Winter 2015. Named after the historic building in which the company is housed, Flatiron Books is committed to publishing intelligent nonfiction with commercial appeal by authors with distinctive voices.” Macmillan Publishers is based in the Flatiron Building in Manhattan.
For her part, Button still seems to be reeling from the whirlwind of events. “It’s all so amazing,” she says.