Cookbook Author Interview: Patricia Gambarelli: Do You Have A Passion For Cooking And Can Add More Than A Recipe To The Printed Page?

Cookbook Author Interview: Patricia Gambarelli: Do You Have A Passion For Cooking And Can Add More Than A Recipe To The Printed Page?

What is the name of your cookbook?

The Four Seasons of Gourmet Entertaining With the World at Your Table

Is this your first cookbook?

No. This is my second book. My first book was published in 2006: Pasta for Men Only

Did you have a food blog prior to writing your cookbook?

I started my food blog shortly after the publication of the pasta book. Unfortunately, I have not kept pace with the blog-The Four Seasons of Gourmet Entertaining has me swamped, but I hope to focus on my blog again in the near future.

What compelled you to write a cookbook?

Although I majored in Chemistry in college, my real choice would have been to be an English Major. In my professional career in chemistry, I always seem to gravitate toward the printed word, either as the editor of the in-house newspaper or writing technical proposals. When I retired, writing about cooking came front and center. I started a cooking school which led once again to the printed page. I reviewed restaurants in Manhattan, wrote for a Long Island newspaper. When I moved to North Carolina, I wrote a weekly food column, “Let’s Cook” for the Brunswick Beacon for three years. The path led me to creating a Gourmet Club in my community which ultimately led to the Gourmet book. (see about the Gourmet Club below.) When I decided to turn over the reins of the Gourmet Club to a few of the members-15 years is a long time to create menus for 4 course dinners four times a year. Looking back on the dinners stored in my computer, I decided to publish them in a book. The added incentive was the introductory remarks written to introduce the recipes. It seemed an easy path to the book. Ha!

Tell me more about the Gourmet Club.

In September 1997, we organized the Gourmet Club, never dreaming that it would endure for fifteen years. Fifty-six aspiring cooks signed on, committed to dining together six times during the year. I selected the recipes, had them printed, and hand-delivered them to each participant. We created groups of four couples per group, the host preparing the main course, and the other three couples, the appetizer, first course and dessert. It became quickly apparent that the format took the stress out of preparing an elegant dinner for eight. Now, there was time for the hostess to fashion a lovely table setting with beautiful flowers. One rigid rule is still in place today. Each couple brings a fine bottle of wine that matches the menu. Friendship, however, became the most important ingredient that we brought to the Gourmet table.

What advice do you have for an aspiring cookbook author who wants to self-publish a cookbook?

Do you have a passion for cooking and can add more than a recipe to the printed page? Can you tell a story? The Internet easily supplies recipes, but are they credible and tested? I often tease my Writers Bloc colleagues-“Next time I’m writing a novel.” Be scrupulous in your editing. This takes an inordinate amount of time.

Tell me more about the Writers Bloc group.

A local author here in North Carolina invited me to join his Writers Bloc group – six aspiring authors, all writing novels, got together to critique each other’s work. Of course, I was the odd man out-I was writing a cookbook. We met once monthly, and most times I wondered what possible positive criticisms I could offer them. But, they were intrigued and very supportive, encouraging me to continue with my cookbook.

What was your biggest challenge in writing your cookbook?

My biggest challenge was organizing it into Seasons. I had to be sure that the seasonal ingredients in the recipes were available in the food market in that particular season. This was somewhat of a problem for me because our gourmet dinners spanned a 2 month period. What do I do about Peach Melba in January?

What was your biggest challenge in publishing your cookbook?

I would caution an aspiring author to research credible printing companies. Prices vary and there is a two pronged sword here. Do you want to do the entire process yourself (pdf files, editing, word documents, etc.) or let the company prepare the guts of the book (composition)-a costly move or have it ready for printing yourself? Computer time is extensive if you go this route.

Any thoughts you’d like to share on the marketing and sales of your cookbook?

Now comes the next phase-marketing. Not as easy as you may think. I will admit that the Pasta book opened many doors. I had a huge spread sheet containing names, number of books purchased, clubs, etc. which my computer guy accidentally deleted in the transfer of my hard drive to the new computer. A connecting link or having something in common, such as LinkedIn is an excellent networking tool. I was thrilled to get an offer to co-write a cookbook with a culinary writer. I’m getting smart. I’ve learned to say, “Thank you, but no thanks.” I would suggest that the writer touch base with anybody and everybody – you never know when the next door will open.

15 Comments
  1. mom, fantastic interview! congratulations. even more doors are opening now for you! so proud…

  2. I have many cookbooks, but Pat’s is one of the most practical and readable. The ingredients are easily available and the recipe’s are “tried and true.” Pat is an excellent writer – all of which makes this cookbook one of my favorites!

  3. Great book, well organized and great recipes. I have tried most of them. I love the way you incorporated pictures of people with whom you have shared your passion of cooking.

  4. The Four Seasons of Gourmet Entertaining With the World at Your Table is a unique format for a cookbook, and it’s filled with great recipes that have been thoroughly tested. The author shares so much of what she’s learned along the way. And, in this interview, Pat is again open and sharing with others who may aspire to write. She’s positive and encouraging . . . and the reader knows that they simply have to try the cook book too!

  5. This is great cookbook for those who like to do menu planning and entertaining. The recipes are easy to follow and taste so good!
    I especially like the stories you tell about your work and dinners you enjoyed with many of the great chefs we all admire.

  6. As a senior in semi-retirement I have started to enjoy cooking. I have found that the recipes are easy to understand and the entire meal experience is exquisitely planned. I can’t wait to work my way through the whole book.

  7. Wow! I knew Pat was a wonderful cook and fantastic writer, now I see that she provides clear and understandable answers to questions interviewers ask and aspiring cookbook writers want to know. Congratulations, Pat, and best of luck with “The Four Seasons of Gourmet Entertaining With the World at Your Table.”

  8. For those of you who that don’t know Pat, she is the most amazing woman I know. She says she’s not a CHEF, but I’m not really sure what the actual definition of a chef is… To me…she personifies the word CHEF… Her new book is amazing and a small collection of the years worth of recipes she’s created, cooked, served and/or inspired many of us to make. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of her recipes…complicated does not mean it is Gourmet and will taste better. Her passion is everywhere in this book. I hope she touches your life as much as she’s touched the lives of her Sea Trail family!!!

  9. Across forty years of travel in Italy, I have come to know and understand food and wine very well – yet still feel a neophyte. Pat’s second book is an easy and information-filled way to explore the foods of Italy and the world. Every page is filled with information that further expands the reader’s understanding of the world of food. I have learned a great deal from her experience.

    I have always admired Pat’s recipes – and Rudy’s (her husband’s) phenomenal bread – through many dinners at their lovely home, surrounded by friends and family. Her recipes are accompanied by vignettes about her experiences over many years of teaching and writing about food and its preparation.

    From creative suggested menus for small groups or gourmet clubs to individually selected recipes, this is an wonderful reference for any cook. BUY IT!

  10. Along with Pasta for Men Only, we have two great resources for family meals – and for entertaining our friends. Great book, Pat!

  11. Ikeep showing your cookbook to my Indiana guests. They are very much impressed with my new friend. I need to talk to you about getting more autographed copies.

  12. Last year I made my son-in-law very happy with a Christmas gift of Pasta for Men…and this year I’ll follow it up with Pat’s newest cook book – he wins all around! Thanks, Pat, for sharing your love and talent for gourmet cooking. You’re superb and a great friend.

  13. I have always had an interest in cooking, credits to my mom!
    I never imagined retiring to Sea Trail there would be a “Gourmet Club”. This Gourmet Club started by Pat with a “Fine Dining” premise, using recipes tested by Pat, members were able to turn their homes into “5-Star Restaurants” using their finest china, silverware, crystal, linens, candles, and, of course, flowers. Along with the food, it wouold be nothing without rhe “Diners” attending, all contributing a portion of the meal, supplying conversation and laughter, cementing lasting friendships.
    I, especially, like Pat’s new cookbook because of our second retirement plan to re-locate to Colorado to be closer to our children and grandchildren. “The Four Seaspons of Gourmet Entertaining” will be a “God-Send” planning the special family dinners that will occur; along with fond memories of our time at Sea Trail and Pat’s “Gourmet Club”!
    I have already given copies of Pat’s new cookbook to family and friends; receiving their rave reviews!
    One last note, “Thank You Pat and Rudy” (Rudy’s Bread), for creating your “Gourmet Club”!! You have given us “pause”, in this day of fast food and quick dinners, to enjoy “Fine Dining” in our homes, if not always, at least occasionally!!

  14. Well lady, you did it again. I really didn’t see how you could top your first cook book Pat, but I think you did just that. The recipes look terrific and the side bars make for very enjoyable (and envious) reading. The tough decision now is determing which recipe to try first! It’s clearly evident that this was a labor of love with much thought and effort going into it Pat. Many thanks for sharing, and for writing your second outstanding cook book.

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