Plated cookbook set to launch on May 17th! The dedicated duo have shared their culinary talents with us since 2012 and 2013 respectively, and in the upcoming cookbook, they’ll be sharing 125 brand new recipes that will enable readers to customize everything from seasonal weeknight dinners to party menus, and much more (including a few culinary magic tricks!)
In our interview below, get an inside glimpse into the process of writing the book, and find out what recipes Elana and Suzanne are most excited for you to try.
Plated: You both looked at a lot of cookbooks before writing your own. Based on the research, what elements make for the perfect cookbook?
Elana Karp: It should feature recipes that are exciting enough that you wouldn’t think of them yourself, but are easy enough that you could successfully make them on your own. And have a lot of great photos.
Suzanne Dumaine: That’s actually what I was going to say!
Plated: How did writing the cookbook differ from writing the recipes you normally create?
SD: It was a chance for us to step out of our usual framework. We were excited to bring our level of detailed instructions to more elaborate recipes.
EK: Plated recipes are meant to be easy to make when you get home from work. The parameters at Plated create their own challenges, but here we could go nuts because there were no rules. This was the opportunity to do brunch, parties, and beyond.
Plated: What was the process like writing the cookbook?
EK: It was a whirlwind. It was exciting and a little stressful, but mostly fun.
SD: Quick! Writing certain parts of the book came more naturally than we expected. We were so excited to share information in the book like the guides that it ended up being a fast process.
Plated: How did you come up with the customizable concept?
SD: We knew from friends and customers that time, as well as personal tastes and flexibility, were the three most important recipe considerations, so we thought about how we could make a book that fit those needs.
EK: My school used to have book fairs around the holidays, and every year I bought a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book. It was fun because you felt like you got to write the book, and here we wanted to give people that same experience.
Plated: What’s your favorite section of the cookbook and why?
EK: “Weeknight Dinners” is a special chapter because each recipe is a core technique with four versions, one for each season, and that’s how we approach cooking at home. Neither of us had never seen that in a book before, and it’s such a simple way to help people master their dinner experience.
SD: Similarly, the reason I love “Great for Leftovers” is because it’s unlike anything we had seen in a book before, and it’s such a practical but creative way to prepare meals for two nights of the week. The recipes in there feel like a culinary magic trick.
Plated: Would you write a cookbook again?
EK: Hell yeah!
Plated: Are there any fun stories behind any of the recipes?
SD: The biscuits from the “Weekend Feasts” chapter are modeled after the ones I grew up eating every weekend. We tested them seven times to get the perfect savory version, and I’m really proud of them.
EK: We both have both used the “Date Night” menu on our own date nights. While we were writing the proposal for the book I used it on an early date with my boyfriend and it totally worked.
Plated: What’s one “must cook” recipe from the book?
EK: The steak salad. I make this all the time in the summer. You can make the steak on the grill, and when tomatoes are in season they’re the best thing ever. It’s light and flavorful, and it can be turned into a very cool and different leftover.
SD: The fried chicken is just really good. There are a couple of secret ingredients in the brine that make it really amazing. With the cornbread and the relish, it’s over-the-top delicious.
Plated: What do you hope people get out of your cookbook?
SD: One of our biggest joys as chefs at Plated is hearing that people didn’t think they could make certain recipes, and wind up amazed that it’s not as hard as they thought with the right instructions.
EK: Most of my friends and people our age want to cook and be healthier, but they just don’t know how to and don’t have the right tools. This is such a great way to do it because the book is designed to teach you skills and build those habits.
Don’t forget to pre-order the book on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Books-a-Million, IndieBound, iBooks or the many other vendors carrying the book! And if you’re among the first 1,000, you’ll be able to receive a custom, limited edition set of dish towels—click here for more info.