Bill’s Kitchen – my very best recipes from a life of food
Bill’s Kitchen will be a beautifully illustrated hardback cookery book with the very best recipes from my cafes and my home
About this project
‘The recipes here are an ethereal mix of hearty and delicate, of simple and complex… I could eat any and all.’
Shaun Hill, Food writer, broadcaster and Michelin-starred chef/patron at The Walnut Tree Inn
I’ve written my first cookbook for 20 years and I think it’s a cracker. It’s a collection of the very best recipes from both my cafes and my home life. The best of the best. I’d like your help to get it published.
I created my first restaurant ‘The Place Below’ in the crypt of St Mary-le-Bow in 1989, followed by Café @ All Saints, Hereford (1997), The Refectory at St David’s Cathedral (2005) and the Michaelhouse Café, situated in St Michaels Church in Cambridge (2008).
My previous 2 books (Food From The Place Below and Feasts From The Place Below) have been much loved and have sold between them around 20,000 copies and are still selling today. But my cooking has moved on and I’m excited and delighted to have the opportunity to write another cookbook with everything that is most delicious from my life of food over the last 20 years.
Having been a vegetarian for 10 years, for the last 20 years my cooking and the menus in my cafes have been thoroughly omnivorous. In Bill’s Kitchen you’ll find recipes for pulled brisket and rabbit with cider and mustard alongside roast aubergine ratatouille with spiced chickpeas and lentil, leek and parmesan bake.
And throughout the book you’ll find a commitment to local sourcing and attention to provenance – indeed there’s a chapter devoted to this subject. Whenever we recruit a new manager at the cafes I take them to visit the Tudge family’s pig farm where we source all our bacon, sausages and ham. Our goat’s cheese and apple juice come from local producers in Cambridge and Herefordshire. We only use free range chicken and it all comes from beautiful Springfield farm near Leominster. These connections inform my cooking and this cookbook.
But I don’t want any of this beautiful, carefully sourced food to go to waste. So there’s a chapter on leftovers and another on ‘family weekday suppers’. Both chapters focus on delicious strategies for using what happens to be in your fridge.
The decision to crowdfund the publication of the book has been incredibly liberating. It’s meant that I have complete control over what the book is like rather than having to negotiate with a publisher. So it will be a top quality hardback with coloured cloth place-markers and with each copy shrink-wrapped to make sure that they reach you in tip-top condition.
Financing the project this way means that I’ve been able to build my own team. Michael Phillips has created an elegant, appealing and practical design. Jay Watson has taken tinglingly good photos that bring every recipe to life. And Marianne Ryan, the editor, has made sure that the text and recipes are all clear and consistent and that the index makes it a great book to use.
The recipes are all clearly laid out. Each one is beautifully illustrated and and introduced in an entertaining and informative way. It will be a book that will be a pleasure to use. Like my first two books I’m hoping that you will still be cooking from a food-splattered copy in 20 years time.
Here’s a Taster so you can get a feel for the style of the book http://www.billscafes.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/A-Life-of-Food-TASTER-low-resolution.pdf
The money raised by this campaign will go to printing the book, paying the editor and some of the photography costs. The designer and myself will only be paid out of subsequent books sales after the book is published. If we can raise more than the target amount then that will be a clear sign that demand for the book is high and we’ll increase the print run.
Risks and challenges
The recipes are all written and the photos are all taken. There’s still some work to do on design and editing but we’ve allowed sufficient time for that and everything is currently on track so that we can deliver finished copies in October 2017.
Sending all the rewards out (books, brownies and aprons) as promptly as possible will be a challenge but I’ll make sure that we’re well organized and have all the correct packaging sorted.
Once the Kickstarter campaign has succeeded the risks are relatively small and the challenges have largely been overcome.