Working on the Lark Cookbook was a special project for us. In a former career Jared worked as a chef and partnered with a former colleague and chef John Sundstrom on the Lark Cookbook project. Jared and John both attended NECI and Jared spent time working in the Lark kitchen. As Lark approached its 10th anniversary Chef John had designs on writing a book, but in true Lark fashion wanted to take a more DIY, hands-on approach rather than going with a big publishing house. Jared worked with John to develop a plan to self publish the Lark Cookbook.
The goal of this project was to realize the cookbook that would represent the wonderful restaurant Lark. The story of Lark is one of a restaurant that is embraces quality, a handcrafted approach and taking a different path than is expected- hence the book’s sub title “Cooking Against the Grain”.
How We Helped
At every step we looked to make decisions that supported the vision of Lark as this project became a part of that story. We managed a team of over ten, from recipe testers to photographers and cinematographers and print and digital designers and developers, that came together to work on this project. Each member of the team brought a personal approach to the work that comes through in the final product.
We pushed boundaries with our approach to financing and delivering the cookbook as well. We funded the development of the book with a successful crowd funding campaign on Kickstarter raising over 150% of our goal. We also took a non traditional approach to defining our final product. We made the strategic decision early to separate the content of the cookbook from the way it would be experienced. This approach was one we had seen at NPR and has since become the standard for the publishing industry. We built a private Drupal site for recipe and content develop that allowed recipe testers and the chef to collaborate while creating the content. From this Drupal site we wrote a small API layer that exposed the well structured data in the database in the form of a REST server. From this site we delivered the same recipes and content to all expressions of the cookbook, from the print book to the ebook to the native iPad app.
The Lark Cookbook has been a smashing success. Some of our favorite highlights:
Running a successful crowdfunding campaign during the early days of Kickstarter
Building a future friendly authoring and delivery publishing system and talking about it on one of our favorite podcasts
Seeing the first edition sell out and a second edition go to print (locally in Seattle of course)