It's hard to believe that it's been nearly a month since my last post. Well, I've got good news and bad news.
The good news is that the Asheville Bread Festival on March 24th was a big success and Jeffery Hamelman's classes were a hit, both with the public (Saturday) and his master class with the local bakers on Sunday. This represents a huge jump in the ever-evolving bread scene for western North Carolina, and I can't wait to return and see how the many lessons are applied. Next year's festival should be a must-do event for anyone who can get there. The bakers all gathered for dinner on Saturday night at the brand new Brickhouse, in Hendersonville--a wonderful wood-fired pizza bistro with great aspirations and superb food. This place is a winner, and was filled with locals even though they haven't yet put a sign on the door. But, as we all know, with great pizza, if you build it they will come.
The bad news is that, despite my attempts to bring in a whole new round of recipe testing and new testers, we are simply out of time. The book goes to press in three weeks and, frankly, I simply miscalculated my ability to keep working on it and also manage another round of tests. I am so sorry to disappoint those of you who have been waiting patiently for me to send you packets. Between my back problems and the photo shoot, and the incalculable hours typing in weights, percentages, and new copy--I just couldn't get the packets out. Fortunately, the original testers did such a fabulous job in helping me identify the problem areas that I feel very good about the formulas--we did it--you did it!--honed the very challenging problem of working with 100% whole grains into 55 totally unique and wonderful breads, crackers, pizzas, focaccias, and flat breads. The book design is gorgeous, thanks to another sterling effort by Ten Speed Press and photographer Ron Manville, and I can't wait for it to hit the stands in September. The acknowledgments section list about 250 of you by name--the testers--who helped bring this vision into reality. Thank you all for everything you have contributed.
When I have a fall travel teaching schedule in place I will post it here as well as, hopefully, some pictures from the book. Once we get the manuscript off to the printer I may also post a few of the recipes, and also links to other helpful sites. Stay tuned; there's lots more to come over the next few months, including a more interactive set up so we can get some dialogues going.
Last week I made a couple of presentations at the PAII Conference in Myrtle Beach, SC (Professional Association of Innkeepers International). This is a wonderful group of bed and breakfast owners who meet once a year to discover ways to make their inns even better. It was nice to see the ocean again too! Susan and I took some long walks on the beach. It's been awhile, but now that the book is nearly off to the printer we hope to get back to coast more often.
Next week I'm headed to Chicago for the IACP Conference (The International Association of Culinary Professionals), where I will be doing the first hands-on workshop from the new book for 48 attendees. I also get to be a presenter at this year's IACP Cook Book Awards. Look for the results on their web-site beginning April 16th. www.iacp.com . I should have a report on the conference posted shortly after I return. I hope to meet Herve This', the founding father of molecular gastronomy, who is one of the featured speakers. I'll tell you all about it when I return.
Enough for now. Again, so sorry to disappoint those testers waiting in the wings. There will be other opportunities, though. Just stay tuned.
May Your Bread Always Rise!