Taste Test to Picture Perfect: Writing a Cookbook Shouldn’t Be Smoke and Mirrors

When you’re developing unique products for the home or grill, you’re also going to need recipes to demonstrate how to best use them. That’s why one of our most important resources at The Companion Group is our Professional Chef, Nick. He has written several cookbooks that complement our products including grilled cheese, stuffed burgers, grill planks, pizza, and Himalayan salt blocks. And I must say, working at a company with a full service kitchen that is constantly cooking up beautiful and delicious food for product photography is the most wonderful perk of my job. Plus, we get to eat it!

The Process

For the last few months Nick has been hard at work on another book for a brand new product, our KitchenQue™ Stovetop Smoker. The KitchenQue™ is an indoor smoker that works on your stovetop with just a pinch of smoke chips, but it delivers huge pit master flavor. Almost anything can be smoked, meats and veggies for sure but also fruit and beans. Be sure to check out the Smoked Garbanzo Bean Hummus recipe! We are excited to release the KitchenQue™ for the holiday season this year, and along with it, our stovetop smoker cookbook to help users learn the new product and get the most out of it.

It’s a long and involved process to make a cookbook that can take up to 3 months to complete. Having never cooked with a stovetop smoker before, Nick had to cook a few test meals to get familiar with it. Good thing too, because he was surprised how much smoke flavor was imparted and that food was more moist than expected.

After the test meals, its time to “lock myself in my office for about 3 days to a week” says Nick, to research and brainstorm recipe ideas. Initially the theme for the book was going to feature global flavors, but after some feedback it was decided that classic “Americana” flavors would be best for an initial book and expanded it to include sides and appetizers.

Twice as Nice!

Finally it was time to start smoking! Each recipe was made twice, once for a taste test and tweaking and then again for styled pictures. “Surprisingly, the hardest part of developing a cookbook is getting the pictures right! Once the food is done, you only have a few minutes to get the perfect shot. Cheese can start getting waxy; meat can dry out, and ingredients tend to look stale as time ticks by.” Olive oil is our go to quick fix to make food look shiny and fresh – and it’s about all we can do because we refuse to use fake food, glues, or toxic varnishes to enhance our styled shots. We want our food to be as real as possible, so your meals are tasty, beautiful and satisfying too!

Once complete, this cookbook will have 18 tried and true recipes to accompany the KitchenQue™ Stovetop Smoker – and because it’s made for indoor use, you can cook in all weather at any time of day. Once you get through the cookbook, you’ll have the skills needed to start smoking all your favorite foods!

Daniel Replogle

Daniel does business development and marketing at The Companion Group. When he isn’t writing you can find him rock climbing or doing ceramic artwork.