‘Eat In My Kitchen: to Cook, to Bake, to Eat and to Treat’ by Meike Peters, whose love for Malta and its cuisine is splashed across the 256-page hardback book, has been awarded a prestigious James Beard Award for General Cooking.
Internationally-renowned German blogger and food writer Meike Peters, whose blog ‘Eat in My Kitchen’ is followed by thousands of foodies and food lovers across the globe, made headlines even before her first cookbook, Eat In My Kitchen: to Cook, to Bake, to Eat and to Treat’ was published worldwide, including in Malta, by Prestel Publishing last year. Now, she has beaten the likes of world-famous celebrity chef Ina Garten to be crowned the winner of the James Beard Award for General Cooking.
“Although deep down, I was sure I wasn’t going to win, the moment before the winner of my category was announced, I held my editor Holly La Due’s hand so tightly it must have hurt,” recounts Meike Peters, who has been blogging about food for the past four years. “Then, when Andrew Zimmern (the Awards Ceremony’s host) called out my name, I just froze. It felt unreal; I couldn’t believe it… We couldn’t believe that we had done it!
“I ran on stage and hugged Andrew… Literally flying into his arms! The following few minutes, when I talked through my speech and got the chance to thank all the people who have helped me to bring this book to life, remain a precious memory. It was an amazing moment that I’ll never forget.”
Established in 1990, the annual James Beard Awards – which are organised by the James Beard Foundation – honour excellence in cuisine, culinary writing and culinary education. It is considered the world’s most prestigious cookbook award.
“The James Beard Award is like ‘the Oscars of cookbooks.’ It means a lot – and not just in the USA,” Meike continues. “Some of the authors who were awarded that night have worked for their success for decades, and they cried on stage just the same. It’s very emotional, but it’s also a huge recognition, both for my cookbook and for everybody who’s been involved in the process. The book gets more attention all over the world through this award, which we’re all very thankful for!”
In the award-winning cookbook, Meike includes some of Malta’s most iconic recipes, including pudina tal-ħobż and minestra, alongside famous US desserts and German favourites – bringing together her heritage as well as her partner Jamie’s, who is half-Maltese and half-American.
“I met Jamie while he was touring in Germany with Ira Losco, which I was overseeing,” says Meike, who now considers Malta her second home. “When I came to visit, I was totally mesmerised by the amazing ways things like fennel seeds, citrus fruit, coriander seeds and orange blossom water were used, and I now include them in a variety of recipes to create a fusion of cuisines.”
Meike Peters’s cookbook, which is available in all major bookstores in Malta, features stunning, full-page food photography taken by Meike herself, as well as six ‘Meet In Your Kitchen’ features, including one with the Ċini family from Gozo, who have been harvesting salt from Xwejni Bay for generations.
To find out more about Meike and her recipes, please visit her blog Eat In My Kitchen.