An Evening of Blood, Bones and Butter

We receive a good many cartons of books at the shop, daily. So, when a crisp, highly anticipated new release arrives we unpack the box with anticipation akin to Christmas morning, it never gets tired. We were especially eager to get our hands on the highly touted memoir Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton. As well known as the chef of the popular, award winning New York restaurant Prune, could her book possibly live up to all the hype? With heaps of praise from the likes of industry heavies Anthony Bourdain and Mario Batali it should be good, right? It is, every bit as good. Gabrielle is as deft with a pen as she is with a spatula. She has a natural humour and honesty that makes the reader eager to draw up a chair and join her.

We welcomed Gabrielle to the shop to celebrate the launch of Blood, Bones and Butter. We were excited to share her story. Early in the afternoon, the graduating class of The Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, clad in their sparkling chef’s whites, dropped in for an informal Q&A and signing with Gabrielle. Her journey to restaurant owner (and now successful author) was neither conventional nor easy. The audience of future chefs listened with rapt attention as Gabrielle took them through her own journey and warned them of the often ugly realities of restaurant life. After first warning them off the career completely, she graciously gave them a few pointers on landing a job at Prune.

In the evening, Rhonda May of City Food Magazine joined us and led Gabrielle on a reading and salon-style interview. Appetites sated with a Prune-inspired plate of bone marrow, roast tilapia, and ham & cheese sandwiches, guests were ready to hear Gabrielle’s story. We knew the evening was off to a good start when Gabrielle pulled up her sleeve and gave us the gruesome details of her asparagus tattoo-like cutting – also the cover art on the title page of her book.

Her approach to food is refreshingly honest – cooking is a craft, not an art and its singular goal is to satisfy hunger. Gabrielle shared with us stories about her family, her disdain for food trends and some of her favourite reads and meals. It is always a pleasure when an author is as charming and real as you imagine them on the page. Evenings like this make us feel proud and tickled to be able to introduce wonderful writers and truly intriguing people to our book-loving community. Also, our congratulations to Gabrielle as Blood, Bones and Butter arrives at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list this week.