Every once in a while something amazingly good happens that makes all our toil here at Cornwall Food & Drink worthwhile. This week was one of those moments, when our Great Cornish Food Book won the Waterstones Award in the Holyer an Gof Cornish Book Awards.
This time last year we were battling with a draft that wasn’t working and a little wobble of confidence meant the book was almost consigned to the rubbish heap. With no prior knowledge of publishing, it was an enormous financial risk to be taking on. The harsh reality was that if it bombed, Cornwall Food & Drink - and everything else we do - would sink too.
A few days’ holiday proved to be the book’s saviour. The draft got stuffed into Ruth's bags and, away from the daily grind, the vision and confidence returned and the right words and ideas began to flow again. Within a matter of weeks, everything had come together, the proofs were signed off and it was just a case of waiting for the printers to do their stuff. What a wait that was! Our naivety meant we hadn’t twigged that you can’t just print one book as a test, so without the chance to hold a copy in our hands, feel the paper, turn the pages, see how the colours had worked, we’d said OK to 5000 copies. Eek. Opening the first box was therefore a stomach-turning moment.
But we needn’t have worried. It was, in fact, one of the best moments of the Cornwall Food & Drink journey so far. We fell in love with it straight away – it’s a very tactile book – and we all knew at that moment that it would be a winner. It’s a winner in so many ways. We have a lovely book to our name that generates revenue to help us do our other work. A £1 donation from every book helps the RABI and the Fishermen’s Mission support Cornish fishing and farming families in times of trouble. Our stockists benefit from a generous margin. And, as well as all the individual businesses featured in the book, the Cornish food and drink industry as a whole is presented in a stunning format that can’t fail to boost its reputation.
In an effort to integrate everything we do, we always look for links between our various projects. We’ve therefore made the Great Cornish Food Book a champion of the Choose Cornish campaign too. The book was beautifully designed by Muse Media of Newquay, photography was by Mike Searle of Newquay under Muse Media’s direction, and Fourway Print of Launceston did a fantastic job with the printing. We didn’t need to look outside Cornwall for the expertise we were looking for and all the work was commissioned competitively, so we really did get the best job at the best price without the need to step over the Tamar!
What’s more, in support of the high street, we only sell the book through independent booksellers and other independent outlets, with the exception of a local arrangement with Waterstones. The only listing on Amazon is where orders are fulfilled by a bookshop in Mevagissey.
Those 5000 copies are now sold and we’ve just started selling the second print run, which includes three new recipes from James Nathan of The Green Room, Steve Marsh of The Greenbank and Nicky Grant, who shares the secrets of making delectable macarons. Without these and all the other people like them who contributed their recipes and stories, and who make such wonderful products here in this far south west peninsula, there would be no book of course.
You are the people who make us tick. We thank you all.
Ruth and the Team x