Rebecca Klemke, an author, a cook and an entrepreneur, am I correct? Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
Author, cook, food writer, and food photographer, I am a member of one of Alberta’s oldest families of food. It has been a privilege to be raised among boutique resort hotels and Western Canadian restaurants – my uncle is the founding owner of Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts (CRMR). Good food has been a part of my life since day one. Decades Of Decadence is my first cookbook that not only catalogues my family’s recipes, but my clan’s cuisine-centric passion for life. I consider a life all about epic eats to be normal.
How did you become so passionate about cooking?
My passion for cooking and philosophy on food rippled down from my Grandmother and my Mother. Decades Of Decadence is grounded in family, the sharing of recipes, talk of food, growing of food, preparing food, cooking techniques, and the ultimate expression of food – sharing a meal. Nothing evokes my family’s charm so eloquently as our food. My philosophy is simple – good food is a key ingredient to great living. I don’t think the apple falls far from the tree.
In other words, it was your grandmother who inspired you to do “Decades of Decadence”? Tell us about your inspiration to do this project.
Decades Of Decadence is simply elegant – much like the woman who inspired the cookbook, my Grandmother. She was an amazing woman, a professional entertainer, an awesome Grandma, and a gourmet cook regardless of the meal. Her food was a conduit for memorable experiences and heartfelt relationships. Decades Of Decadence’s stories and pictures are a rich directory of a grand and vivid life.
Tell us about the title, what does it refer to?
The title, Decades Of Decadence, speaks of the decades of decadence that is my family’s culinary history. It’s a collection of cherished and truly decadent recipes that have been loved and passed down over decades.
What are your favourite recipes from the book?
All recipes among the collection in Decades Of Decadence are favourites. Decades Of Decadence started out as a 700 page cookbook –it was a challenge narrowing the number down to the 300 recipes enclosed in these pages. A dessert sequel cookbook is already in the works. I can genuinely say, there is much more to come!
It also has delicious photographs of all the awesome recipes you've written about. Who did the photography for you?
All food photography in Decades Of Decadence is my own. Food and cameras are two of my favourite things. The images of myself (ie. Front cover photograph) – I convinced a photographer friend to help with bribery of a day’s worth of food; breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I guess it was an offer that couldn’t be refused.
You also have some amazing pictures of yourself, in the book and on the website. It certainly creates a special connection with you for your readers. Did you think about this ahead of time or was it just another fun thing you did along the way?
Decades Of Decadence was definitely premeditated. Much of any creative process comes from a person's dreams. This is what allows the creation to manifest.
Everything you see on my website at RKkitchen.com is a work in process. RK Kitchen is ever evolving, a choose-your-own-food-adventure just like Decades Of Decadence, it is the fun along the way. RKkitchen.com exists in support of interactions with Decades Of Decadence. I invite you to come cook and share the joys of epic eats.
You also went on to win a prestigious “Gourmand Awards 2014” for “Decades of Decadence”. Tell us a little bit about your achievement.
Decades Of Decadence, WINNER of the Gourmand World Cookbook Award 2014 for “Best Culinary History Book”, representing Canada – a prestigious and honourable international achievement.
The Gourmand Awards are considered the Oscars in the food and wine world. There are over 26,000 different food and wine books published around the world every year. In 2013, 187 countries participated in the Gourmand World Cookbooks & Wine Books Awards Competition. This is the 19th Gourmand World Cookbook and Wine Book Awards Event. Awards are presented to cookbooks and wine books published the previous year. (http://www.cookbookfair.com/)
Winners from each Country compete against winners in the same category from other Countries for the Gourmand “The Best In The World” Award. Recently announced, Decades Of Decadence has made the shortlist for this potential honour. Results will be announced at the annual Gourmand Awards Ceremony in May 2014, held this year in Beijing, China.
My fingers are crossed!
This is all thanks to decades of hard work and attention to details when crafting this book. How helpful was the FriesenPress team for you, during the production process of the book and what made you choose FriesenPress as your self-publisher in the first place?
I’ve enjoyed the individuals who've been employed by FriesenPress, those who've been a part of the publishing process with Decades Of Decadence. This cookbook would not be what it is without everyone that has contributed along the way. FriesenPress was a part of this journey. No doubt, there were struggles throughout the publishing stages with FriesenPress, on a corporate level as well as on a quality level, however, these struggles were worked through and at the end of the day, I have a product that makes me feel good. These struggles throughout the publishing process where most likely required learning experiences – experiences that will make my next cookbook that much better. When I chose FriesenPress to commence the publishing process with, I felt it was the company I wanted to work with.
You have an amazingly strong online & social media presence, who is doing all the marketing and promotions for you?
RK Kitchen, my online presence for Decades Of Decadence is a self-made process. It is about food and the talk of food. This is something that is a big part of my everyday. I control and manage all my social media, as well as my website (www.rkkitchen.com). My online & social media presence works in synergy with my life and my interests. At the beginning stages of any small business, it is not financially feasible to hire someone to do the work for you, although at some point I would love to bring the brilliance of others aboard.
Any words of wisdom for our readers and potential authors?
Baby steps! Keep in mind every little bit helps. My cookbook Decades Of Decadence, my website RK Kitchen, and all my social media is in creation after hours. I work full time as a property manager, a home developer and a kitchen designer. It’s not always easy, but are magnificent creations supposed to be easy? I believe it takes the same amount of focus to create a castle or a button; it’s just a matter of what you’re focused on. Baby steps will get you to the top of a mountain.
Please let our readers know how they can get all the updates about you and especially how & where to buy your book from. Wish you all the very best Rebecca!
--Interviewed by Rasanga WeerasingheEdited by Lauren Obee