All Four Books in Blasta Books Series 1 Named Cookbook of the Year
In a surprise twist in last week’s Irish Food Writing Awards held on 13 October, UK judges Jay Rayner and Dr Annie Gray gave the Cookbook of the Year award to all four books in Blasta Books Series 1 despite only the first two being officially nominated:
- Blasta Books #1: Tacos by Lily Ramirez-Foran
- Blasta Books #2: Hot Fat by Russell Alford & Patrick Hanlon
- Blasta Books #3: The United Nations of Cookies by Jess Murphy & Eoin Cluskey
- Blasta Books #4: Wok by Kwanghi Chan
Judge Jay Rayner said, ‘The first series of Blasta Books isn’t just a breath of fresh air for the cookbook publishing world; it’s a veritable hurricane. Kristin Jensen’s first volumes –Tacos, Hot Fat, Cookies and Wok – are smart, beautifully written and gorgeously designed. They are that ideal thing: both functional cookbooks and delightful, sassy objects.’
The Irish Food Writing Awards were established to recognise and celebrate the high quality of food and drink writing from throughout the island of Ireland across print, broadcast and online. Last week’s awards were attended by some of the international judges, including the US-based award-winning writer Colman Andrews, writer and columnist at the Telegraph Xanthe Clay, food writer and TV personality Andy Clarke, and Charlotte Pike, Chair of the UK Guild of Food Writers. Other judges included Rene Redzepi, Tom Parker Bowles and Fiona Beckett.
Publisher Kristin Jensen says, ‘The success of our first series shows that there is a real appetite for more stories and more types of food. These books are literally the voices, faces and food of modern Ireland and we are proud to publish them.’
Jensen was also presented with the Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition of her work founding Blasta Books, Nine Bean Rows and Scoop magazine in the past year to promote Irish food and Irish food writing.
Each book in the Blasta Books series is a hardcover, 72-page A5 cookbook illustrated by Dublin artist Nicky Hooper. They are all standalone books, but as a quarterly series they also provide a more inclusive snapshot of Ireland’s modern and diverse food culture, from tacos to tapas, spice bags to sushi. They are little books with big voices.