To begin the production process, I revisited the fundaments of my cookbook pitch: a community cookbook-memoir made by and for East and Southeast Asian diasporic people in London. Even though I had narrowed down my demographic drastically, it still encompassed an immensely diverse and populous cross-section of migrants. With this in mind, I decided to stray away from establishing firmly demarcated categories for my chapters, whether this be by nationality, dish origins, or generational status. Rather, when creating the general structure for the cookbook, I decided upon three 'acts', each with their own distinct but interrelated themes. For each chapter, there will be roughly 3-4 cook-alongs, dedicating roughly five pages to each one:
As for the introduction, I decided to include the project rationale that I had written in the ideation stage of the project. I feel that since the point of writing the rationale, my intentions have remained generally consistent, serving as a sincere preface to set the tone for the cookbook. In order to carry this tone throughout the cook-alongs, I drew up a general outline of the project's ethos to accompany the application form as well as the contributor guide:
Ethos & Ethical Guidelines
The primary goal is to create the most comfortable environment for interviewees, given the intimate nature of these cook-alongs, in terms of both the event itself and the nature of the subjects in discussion.
Space: To ensure that the interviewee feels safe and comfortable, they are free to select the location where the cook-along takes place, whether this is their own place, a friend’s or mine. Interviewees are also welcome to bring along a friend or family member if they wish. Accessibility needs may be disclosed in any way that suits their preference, including in the ‘additional notes’ section of the submission form.
Content: Interviewees are encouraged to disclose on the submission form if there are any subjects or themes in particular that they are not comfortable discussing during the cook-along. These subjects will be avoided to the best of my ability during cook-alongs, and interviewees are welcome to indicate a safe word beforehand, in the event that a triggering and/or uncomfortable topic arises.
Confidentiality: Interviewees are agreeing to have, at minimum, their first name and nationality and/or ethnic background disclosed, as well as having photos taken of the cooking process and meal. Requests to omit any other particular details that may be recorded during the interview will be respected.
These details will accompany the contributor guide, as shown below:
For the contributor guide, I wanted to establish a personal and welcoming tone; I included an introduction to myself, detailing my name, area of study, intentions, personal background, contact details and a photo for familiarity. As it relates to the key information, I sought to streamline the project as much as possible, without resulting in any ambiguities for the contributor. I will also mention beforehand to contributors that any costs incurred in the cook-along- travel costs, groceries, etc.- will be compensated.
Lastly, as a community cookbook, the production team behind Moveable Feast will be relatively small:
Writer & Editor (Myself)
Interviewing contributors, writing, editing and collating the final stories for each issue.
Acting as key spokesperson for the project.
Photographer (Rafi Goudy Elmahal, CSM student)
Attending cook-alongs with contributors and taking photographs of the cooking process and dish.
Graphic Designer (Rui Pui, UAL Camberwell alumni + Mikey Burey, freelance illustrator)
Preparing cohesive layouts for interviews and recipes, as well as logos, fonts and illustrations
Printing & Binding via publisher
When it came to thinking about the publishing process, I wanted to steer away from traditional, conglomerate-affiliated publishers so as to retain both the creative control as well as the community-oriented spirit of Moveable Feast. I found a number of small-scale independent publishers that resonated with this. Kiosk, a London-based independent publisher stood out in particular:
Kiosk appealed to me for a number of reasons; firstly, as a independent publisher, it operates on a relatively small scale but in doing so is able to actively engage the local community in a sincere manner. Based in Southeast London, it launched in 2014 at one of my local pubs, the Peckham Pelican, and continues to host events at both smaller establishments and institutions such as Tate Modern. Secondly, the content they publish is similar to Moveable Feast, in that they are generally publications of modest production value and initiated by young creatives. Perhaps more a platform than a traditional publisher, I thought Kiosk would enable me to preserve the self-published zine format and the agency in creating my own narratives.