It is not an overstatement to say that the opening of Book Larder may be the most anticipated event of the fall in the food community.
Book Larder, a community culinary bookstore and events space, was a dream of the much-loved and celebrated Kim Ricketts, founder of Kim Ricketts Book Events and formerly of University Bookstore, before she passed away earlier this year. Lara Hamilton, the new proprietor of Kim Ricketts Book Events, is bringing that dream to life.
We had some time to chat with Lara in the Larder’s new (though housed in a building circa 1880) 1100 square foot digs early last week. Here’s our interview:
I recognize this space, what did it used to be?
Well most people remember it as Hanson’s Florist or the place to buy your kids leotards (it was a dance shop.)
So how is it that the Book Larder came to be?
I’d worked with Kim on the Cooks & Books series when I was at Microsoft and when she had an open position she called me up for lunch and we talked about what she had planned for the future. I was looking to do something food related so I joined the Kim Ricketts Book Events staff. When Kim became ill we had a conversation about keeping Kim Ricketts Book Events operating-I was honored she trusted me enough to let me buy the business. I’m going forward with Book Larder with Kim’s blessings.
Kim Ricketts Book Events is already a dynamic organization, how is Book Larder going to enhance your business?
Our Cooks & Books series is so fun but now we’ll have even broader opportunities and offerings plus our own place for our community to gather. Now we can bring eaters, cooks and readers into one central gathering space and offer readings and culinary classes.
Do think the Book Larder is unique or are you looking to other models around the country?
LH: We are looking at all kinds of places for inspiration, Books for Cooks in London, Omnivore in San Francisco, and Barbara-Jo’s in Vancouver. But ours ( Book Larder) will be Seattle specific and truly reflect a sense of place.
What can we expect once you open?
We are planning a grand opening week (date yet tbd.) Of course October and November are big culinary book release months so we’ll have lots of events to announce soon. So far we’ve confirmed a book signing for Top Pot Hand-Forged on October15, an Edible Seattle event on October 18 and we’ll host a potluck for Melissa Clark of Eat This Now on October 20. On November 7 we’ve got the legendary Jacques Pepin at Palace Ballroom and on December 1 we’ll partner with Soul Wine as we host Andrew Dorrnenberg and Karen Page.
Additionally we’ll have 3500-3700 new and used culinary titles on the shelves at any given moment. The titles will have a northwest and european (British titles in particular) focus as well as titles from around the world.
Who would you host for your dream book event?
Any truth to the rumor that Ferran Andria might make a Seattle pit stop after he speaks in San Francisco?
We’ve been talking to Phaidon about his tour and we are trying to work out the scheduling since he’d like to visit Seattle for several days, so it may be as late as next spring.
What five culinary titles should food lovers have on their shelves?
Aaagh…only 5? New NY Times Essentials, Mastering the art of French Cooking, Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries, Howard McGee’s on Food and Cooking and Darina Allen’s The Forgotten Skills of Cooking.
You can follow Book Larder’s development and events calendar on facebook, twitter, tumblr or at www.booklarder.com