On 10th August 2015 I received a very exciting email from the Senior Commissioning Editor at Octopus Books. A few emails and one meeting later, I had been given a publishing deal to create a 'Twin Peaks' inspired cookbook. 'Twin Peaks' and food...'Twin Peaks'..and...food. Win!
Once I'd picked my jaw up off the floor at being handed this damn fine (sorry) opportunity, I set to work. I had 6 weeks to create something very special for 'Twin Peaks' fans everywhere. I knew I wanted to use 'Twin Peaks' and it's world to it's fullest potential including characters, locations, storylines and the town itself.
And now this very special cookbook, which has been created by a team of people full of love, friendship and very full of donuts, was published in the UK on November 3rd 2016* and November 15th in the USA. So I thought I would share with you the wonderful and strange journey we have taken together.
From the get go there were very obvious recipe choices; cherry and other pies, a selection of donuts, coffee infused dishes, diner staple food, maple ham pancakes and the other classics that just scream 'Twin Peaks'. But I wanted to give it more depth than that. Cue, rewatching the series; like I need an excuse.
From the pilot (and alternate pilot) I re-watched for the 10 millionth time the entire series of 'Twin Peaks' and also the film 'Fire Walk With Me'; but this time I was looking for something more. I was looking a little deeper, watching background characters, listening to lines and different ways they could be interpreted and I was watching body language and characteristics of all the roles. This intense study allowed me to create recipes that were tasty, weird, surreal, classic but most of all, fun!
It was important to me to create an entire food experience, and this meant bringing entertainment into the mix. So within each chapter I planted a 'to do' page relevant to that chapter and I pulled the whole thing together with a guide on how to host the perfect 'Twin Peaks' dinner party...something which I'm sure practically every Peakie has done anyway!
So, first draft in hand, I sent it off to Octopus and shook like a leaf hoping they would like it.
They liked it.
They also told me that Harper Collins wanted to distribute the book in the USA. The rest of that meeting was a bit of a blur as all I could hear where the words Harper Collins spinning around in my head! One of the biggest publishers in the world were going to publish my book in the USA....nope still not sunk in!
Now, I'm not a chef, I'm not even remotely trained in the ways of the chef. But what I am is a foodie, a Peakie and a creative. But to make sure I wasn't about to poison anyone we bought in chef, food stylist, Peakie and all round good egg Annie Nichols. Annie went through all my food creations in detail and advised what I needed to change, remove or add to, to make the recipe the best it could be. And I have to say, she was worth her weight in gold...especially on the photoshoot.
The photoshoot. The happiest week I think I've ever had. Certainly the most gluttonous - I think it's pretty fair to say I put on 2 stone in a week. Not. Even. Kidding.
Picture the scene; A studio in Clapham complete with kitchen and 3 sets of antlers that were just lying around; 'Twin Peaks' replica props...everywhere; the smell of Douglas Firs...ok so that last one wasn't true but you get my drift - it was 'Twin Peaks' heaven.
Addie Chinn was our photographer for the shoot and he was also a die hard Peakie so had a great vision and understanding of what we were trying to achieve, and worked tirelessly to make sure we had a great result for every picture.
So there we were, Addie as photographer, Annie as cook and food stylist, Yasia (from Octopus Books) as Art Director and me; still walking around with my jaw open that this was actually happening...and being the picky Peakie making sure every shot was perfect. Eleanor Maxfield, the woman responsible for sending me that first email was also on hand and was a huge support; and still is.
I even dragged my good friend Tom Huddleston (TimeOut Tom as he's known to the Peakies thanks to his fine Q&A skills each year at the festival) down to the shoot to give his valid opinion; and he in turn ran away with Big Ed's Roadside Stew, we've never seen him since...
What followed after the photoshoot was months of editing, not just words but colours, styles, designs, pictures and various front covers. And I thank Octopus dearly for involving me so heavily and making sure I was happy every step of the way. Until one day Eleanor emailed me to say she was sending me a first copy of the completed book.
The next day the book arrived while I was at work, and I sat and tentatively opened the envelope and pulled out the most beautiful book I've ever seen. And almost cried. The journey of this book has been one that has been educational, creative, emotional and plain fun! Anyone who has been to the Twin Peaks UK Festival knows what a stickler I am for detail and how I won't rest until something is perfect, well, I put my publishers through the same punishment - and they were brilliant. They understood that, for me, this book was for the fans, the gorgeous Peakies and it was vital to make it perfect.
I wanted them to have a real keepsake, something they could revisit again and again. I wanted them to be able to enjoy 'Twin Peaks' inspired food in their own homes, and I wanted them to know that I understand them and what this world of 'Twin Peaks' means to them.
And for me, well, I may not have had my name in lights just yet, but being in print, that's good enough for now.
"This is a really well produced cookbook with thick, quality pages, mouthwatering photography and a ton of tempting recipes. It's a must for fans of Twin Peaks, and also great for any fan of 80-90s Americana, or diner style food!" Amazon customer
"Damn Fine Cherry Pie, the unofficial Twin Peaks cookbook, is perfect for 90s kids looking for a little nostalgia to fire up their kitchens"Bustle
"This is the dichotomy of Twin Peaks, and it’s why I keep on heading back to the place both wonderful and strange. Damn Fine Cherry Pie captures it perfectly, and I look forward to cooking many of these recipes for premiere night when the show finally returns in 2017!"