At Hardie Grant and Quadrille, publishers of lifestyle, food, nature titles, and more, sharing ideas and uniting communities through beautifully created books lies at the heart of what they do. Among their most popular categories is their library of recipe and cooking titles. With teams in Australia, the U.K., and newly expanded to the U.S., HG/Quadrille presents exquisite recipes from talented chefs around the world.
Stephen King, managing director at Hardie Grant London; Jenny Wapner, publisher at Hardie Grant North America; and Julie Pinkham, group managing director for Hardie Grant, spoke to PW about their current and upcoming cooking titles; why readers love cooking with physical books; and about how quality recipe books promise readers new knowledge, culinary adventure, and escape to places and cultures beyond their own.
From JapanEasy Bowls & Bento: Simple and Satisfying Japanese Recipes for All Day to Every Day to Orchard: Sweet and Savoury Recipes from the Countryside, your titles are so broad ranging. Can you talk about the great diversity of cuisine and culture you feature throughout your food and recipe books?
King: Bringing a diverse range of cultures to market is something we’ve always done—it’s part of who we are as publishers, and we’re very proud of it. We’ve always been curious and passionate about showcasing food from around the globe and our success has shown there’s a demand for it. Our readers want an element of discovery and learning as they cook.
There are plenty of recipes available online, but there’s something beautiful about having a physical cookbook. Why do you think this is the case? What components make an amazing cookbook?
Wapner: Cooking is often more than just a utilitarian pursuit, and cookbooks tap into the promise and escape inherent in a good recipe. Holding in your hands a beautifully bound book, printed on thick, toothy paper, and with gorgeous photos, anything seems possible; they are an expression of our best cooking selves. Even a simple book, if well done, gives us knowledge and inspiration, and in aggregate, a collection of recipes offers a self-contained world for the reader to temporarily live in and return to. There are also the functional components to book making—sturdy binding, high-quality printing, pages that lay flat, and of course, recipes that are tested and proven to work—but it all starts with an author who has something of value to say and a set of experiences to share.
Many cookbooks seem to be about more than just food: they’re also about creating memories, celebrating tradition, and trying new things. Beyond recipes for delicious dishes, what do you feel Hardie Grant and Quadrille cookbooks offer readers?
Pinkham: Our bespoke approach to making books is rooted in seeing each book as singular. We are not a machine churning out books. There is also global consumer market awareness that comes from publishing in three major cities and all working together. We’re not afraid to push boundaries but always with an eye to what the market wants.
Can you name a few go-to titles for creating nostalgic, hearty comfort food?
King: Pasta Grannies: The Official Cookbook and the upcoming Pasta Grannies: Comfort Cooking are the ultimate guides to cooking delicious, soulful food, made with love. Vicky Bennison, the author of both books, is the creator of the hugely popular YouTube channel of the same name. The new book brings more recipes and stories from the much-loved Italian grandmothers. And who better to take inspiration from than the Pasta Grannies, who have spent their lifetimes plating up comfort and connection?
What’s next for the Hardie Grant brand, specifically in the U.S.?
Wapner: We’re building on Hardie Grant’s reputation as a publisher of high-quality books. While Hardie Grant publishes vary broadly globally, the U.S. list is focused on lifestyle, specifically food, drink, gardening, nature, and interiors. It’s a boutique list and prioritizes strong author voice and point of view. We are looking for books that will backlist strongly.
Can you expand on Hardie Grant’s efforts or how the teams in the U.S., U.K., and Australia work with each other to create books about global trends?
Pinkham: We encourage our teams around the globe to work together and to share their opinions and ideas. There is regular interaction between departments globally. We’ve also created "working groups" that bring together employees from across our organization, who might not otherwise interact, to come together on special projects. This gives every employee an equal opportunity to be part of the larger conversation, and to build relationships with their Hardie Grant colleagues around the world. Most importantly, this fosters an environment that enables everyone to collaborate in real time.