James Beard Winners

Cat Cora, Emeril Lagasse and Stanley Tucci presided over the James Beard Awards last Monday at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. We’re especially happy that Gina DePalma (pictured at left) of Babbo won Best Pastry Chef. Her book, Dolce Italiano (Norton), is a wonderful collection of recipes for biscotti, gelato and other fantastic Italian desserts. In the cookbook awards, Cookbook of the Year went to Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes by Jennifer McLagan (Ten Speed Press), the award for best American Cooking cookbook went to Screen Doors and Sweet Tea: Recipes and Tales from a Southern Cook by Martha Hall Foose (Clarkson Potter), and best Baking and Dessert cookbook went to Bakewise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking by Shirley O. Corriher (Scribner). Check out the full list of winners here.

Cookbooks Aren’t Dead

In a recent piece in the Wall Street Journal, Laura Miller writes, “The cookbook ought to be dead. Like the compact disc, it uses an inconvenient and relatively expensive physical medium to deliver content that can be found, free, on the Web. Beyond a couple of classics like The Joy of Cooking and Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, how many hardcover recipe collections do you need, anyway?” But then Miller delivers some relatively good news: sales of books in the cooking/entertaining category were up 4% in the first four months of 2009 over the same period last year.

London’s Magnolia?

A cookbook spun off of a bakery in London has reached number nine on Nielsen BookScan’s U.K. nonfiction bestseller list. It’s quite a coup for independent press Ryland Peters & Small, which released The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook by Tarek Malouf and the Hummingbird Bakers in the U.K. on April 15 and in the U.S. on March 1. Malouf opened the first Hummingbird Bakery in 2004 on Portobello Road in London’s Notting Hill district. The bakery became a sensation and began attracting celebrities (including Gwyneth Paltrow, who called it “a sweet tooth’s delight”), and now has outposts around the city. Much like Magnolia Bakery in New York, Hummingbird is famous for its cupcakes and sells more than 20,000 every week.

Julie & Julia Trailer Out

The trailer for Julie & Julia started making the rounds last week. Little, Brown’s movie-tie in edition pubs June 30, and the film is set to release August 4. For a blast from the past, check out my Q&A with Julie Powell from 2005, when she told me there were plenty of days when “I’d fuck up a crepe or something, and I’d think, ‘What the hell have I been doing for a year? This is such a waste of my life!’” And now Powell’s life has been turned into a Nora Ephron movie.

Italian Grandmother Clara Cannucciari in Deal with St. Martin’s

St. Martin’s has acquired rights to Clara Cannucciari’s Clara’s Kitchen: Wisdom, Memories and Recipes from the Great Depression. Cannucciari has become a YouTube celebrity, thanks to the series of cooking shows her grandson, Chris Cannucciari, made of her cooking the food she grew up eating during the Depression (hint: it’s a lot of pasta, beans and potatoes). Michael Flamini, who bought the book, said the book will feature recipes from the videos as well as some new ones, and photographs of Cannucciari and her family. The house is on a tight publication schedule and plans to get the book out by October for the holiday season.

Lourdes Castro Celebrates Simply Mexican

Lourdes Castro is the founder of the Ars Magirica Cooking School in Miami, director of the culinary academy at Miami’s Biltmore Hotel, and food science instructor at NYU. She celebrated the release of her new book, Simply Mexican (Ten Speed), at a party at Centrico in Tribeca on April 28. On the menu: spicy albondigas, crab salad on tostadas, shrimp in chile sauce and hibiscus margaritas. Castro is pictured here with Jonathan Waxman, chef/owner of Barbuto; and Aarón Sánchez, chef/co-owner of Centrico.