As I enter Aleph Book Company’s subtly done-up office space in Yusuf Sarai, its co-founder and MD David Davidar walks in, exuding a candour that comes from years of multi-fold experience spent, in a way, formulating India’s publishing scene. The conversation begins instantly, picking up from the last time we met – when he set up Aleph two years back.Recalling his ‘smooth’ journey with this relatively new publishing venture, Davidar says, ‘We didn’t have to fight for the authors we wanted. A lot of them came to us and the others who we wanted to target, we had no problem in getting them to sign with us. In these two years, we have probably published about 20 books, signed on about 100 authors and aim to publish 50 books a year from 2014. We have signed on Shashi Tharoor, who we will publish by next year. We want to be a very exclusive publishing house which brings out only select numbers of very up-market novels and quality fiction. We have done what we wanted to do and now let’s see how the market responds to us.’ Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Maintaining his quintessentially calm demeanour, when queried about Aleph focusing on a particular genre of books, especially on being a niche up-market publishing house, he goes on to say, ‘We are a specialist publisher and I am very clear about that. Having spent most of my life being a general publisher, I know how it works. For example our sister publisher, Rupa, is exactly like the company I used to run, Penguin, which, again, is similar to HarperCollins. These are very large companies which publish hundreds of books a year. They have to do so to maintain their turnover. They have to publish everything under the sun – from chic-lit to very high quality books. Aleph, however, is an extremely focused publisher. We only publish literary fiction and high quality non-fiction and nothing else.’ Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixSo, with quality as a benchmark, would he be ever venturing into publishing poetry? Davidar instantly replies, ‘I will never publish poetry because I don’t know how to publish poetry. Anyone can sell poetry but I don’t know how to make it sell.’With the current onslaught of social media, what is the format of narratives dominating the publishing scene now? Davidar mulls over the question for about a second or two, and then goes on to say, ‘The minute people stop reading long-form narratives, we might as well all pack up and go home. I don’t think that is ever going to happen. You know all the stuff people talk about, on our attention span waning and so on, that is not completely true because from the beginning of time, we have always fallen back on story-telling that uses long-form narrative. When you watch television serials, you are willingly submitting to the long format.’ He pauses awhile, then adds, ‘Just forget these classifications – of book, movies, television serials, magazine articles that are in long format – they have just been packaged in different ways. The minute we stop feeling involved in it and our interest absolutely shifts to the Twitter kind of short form narratives, then, naturally, these forms will go away. So, I don’t think there is any fear about that. Yes, the forms might change. You might read in the e-book form. At that time, book published might vanish, movies produced might vanish, but how does that really matter? Somebody still has to make money. I think the question to ask is till how long the long form narrative would last. And the answer to that, I think, is, forever. People will always want a good story. And there will always be people who make up stories.’Rupa has their Chetan Bhagat, has Aleph found its own? Davidar chuckles and says, ‘Well, Chetan Bhagat is the commercial end of the spectrum. He is an exceptionally good storyteller, but, we too have our own storytellers. They may not sell in the same number but let’s not forget we are exactly two years old and Rupa is 77 years old. So give us time. I am sure we will find our Chetan Bhagat.’But would he really want to find someone like him for Aleph? ‘I would love to sell a million copies, who would not? But we are proud of every single book we publish. Because if we publish only 25 new books a year, each one has to count, make a real difference, whereas when you publish hundreds of books a year, you tend to get a little more relaxed about one book which does not do well. Right now, I am not at all in that frame of mind. For me, every book has to count,’ comes Davidar’s frank answer.When is his next book coming out? ‘I know what I want to write, but I think I am going to give myself one more year for Aleph to settle down. When I was running large companies, I did not do much actual hands-on work. I just spent time telling other people what to do. But now, I actually have to do hands-on work. Now, if I don’t edit a book, then it does not get published. So, I am very busy actually editing books. Because I am doing so much of first hand editing myself, I can’t find time to write my own books. I will have to wait for at least another year for that,’ confesses Davidar.How does he manage to separate the editor-publisher from the writer? Davidar remarks, ‘I realise that I am able to compartmentalise the disparate traits quite well. I don’t think too much and now I don’t care. I don’t read any reviews of my books. I don’t care about how my books are received. So, that helps.
“This is an incredible opportunity for fans of America’s Test Kitchen, and food lovers in general, to immerse themselves in the Test Kitchen experience,” said David Nussbaum, CEO of America’s Test Kitchen.More news: Direct Travel names Smith as Senior VP, Leisure Marketing, North AmericaThe classes will feature foolproof recipes made with accessible ingredients so that passengers can enjoy the recipes long after the voyage has ended. According to Nussbaum, “America’s Test Kitchen is the only test kitchen that tests each recipe 40 to 60 times and spends an average of $10,000 on each recipe.” The brand extends beyond the TV series and includes two magazines, ‘Cooks Illustrated’ and ‘Cook’s Science’, as well as one of the top digital sites for recipes with paid subscription.The curriculum will mimic the best parts of the television experience and will be designed specifically for the cruise line. “America’s Test Kitchen will bring a new take on cooking classes at sea that spans not only recipes, but also the science of the cooking process,” said Ashford.Each sailing will have eight different 45-minute demo courses that will feature a mix of video content, live instruction, taste tests and recipe samples. Courses under development include Asian Dumplings, Salad for Two, We Love Chocolate, Everything Salmon, Getting to Know Chiles, Flavors of the Mediterranean, Meatless Monday Meals and New Italian Favorites followed by taste testing.There will also be four hands-on, 90-minute workshops focused on teaching a specific skill, including pasta- and pie-making, cake decorating, plus an egg class (to learn how to make meringues, for example). Guests will also learn useful ‘how to’ skills like choosing the perfect knife.The onboard Culinary Arts Center will be transformed to reflect the America’s Test Kitchen Brand. Demo courses and workshops for the new program will begin aboard the Westerdam’s Oct. 18 sailing in Mexico and will be followed by Nieuw Amsterdam on Nov. 13 for its Caribbean season. Fleet-wide rollout is expected by June 2017. In addition, episodes of America’s Test Kitchen will be available to watch in staterooms.More news: ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growthAshford went on to outline the enriching culinary experiences aboard HAL, including a variety of restaurants, influence from a number of world renowned chefs, regionally inspired menus that reflect destinations, a number of onboard culinary activities and experiences, culinary journeys ashore, an extensive variety of wine and spirits, and the flexibility for guests to dine as they wish.America’s Test Kitchen joins Holland America’s elite list of food and beverage collaborators who are the leading authorities in their fields. The line’s Culinary Council is led by Holland America Line’s Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, who is joined by international chefs Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Elizabeth Falkner and Jacques Torres. The line also has exclusive partnerships with Sushi Chef Andy Matsuda and Master Mixologist Dale “King Cocktail” DeGroff.After the announcement, Ashford joined teachers Julia Collin Davidson, host of America’s Test Kitchen, and HAL cooking instructor Barbara Mills Schuchard in a quick demo making shumai, small Asian dumplings that guests were able to sample along with an assortment of other offerings.Holland America Line’s fleet of 14 ships offers more than 500 cruises to more than 400 ports in 98 countries, territories or dependencies around the world. Wednesday, September 21, 2016 Holland America partners with America’s Test Kitchen for new ‘hands-on’ dining experience << Previous PostNext Post >> NEW YORK CITY — North American travel media, senior staff and cruise industry veterans gathered at the prestigious Institute of Culinary Education in Lower Manhattan for the announcement of Holland America Line’s new culinary enrichment partnership with the PBS cooking show ‘America’s Test Kitchen’, the most popular how-to-cook show on TV.“We are excited to continue our bold new food story with America’s Test Kitchen,” stated HAL President, Orlando Ashford. “Holland America Line provides guests with tremendously immersive and authentic experiences to enrich their travel, and America’s Test Kitchen’s commitment to delivering a quality culinary experience with a focus on learning is a perfect match.”This new partnership is part of the many fun and exciting innovations that Holland America, a division of Carnival Corporation, has been adding to its product line. Over the past couple of years, the 143-year old cruise ship company has formed a number of new partnerships, invested over US$300 million dollars in its fleet and changed its company logo and tagline from ‘Signature of Excellence’ to ‘Savour the Journey’ to reflect the new direction HAL is taking. America’s Test Kitchen is part of enriching that journey.Ashford noted that surveys have shown that Holland America’s guests “love cooking, entertaining and learning about food.” The new collaboration with the 17-year running hit series will bring a dynamic new ‘hands-on’ approach to dining at sea by offering passengers cooking demonstrations and small group workshops led by HAL chefs trained by America’s Test Kitchen culinary experts. Posted by Share Tags: Holland America Line Francesca Spizzirri