ATK and Sourcebooks to collaborate on books related to food for children

When David Nussbaum was hired as chairman and CEO of America’s Test Kitchen in October 2015, he was tasked with developing the Boston-based publisher and multimedia company, best known for his eponymous public television show, His Country of cooks television show and magazine, and Cook’s Illustrated magazine.

Two years later, Nussbaum’s growth plans are starting to bear fruit. Last week ATK moved into a building in Boston’s Seaport District with a brand new, state-of-the-art 15,000 square foot kitchen. But this test kitchen won’t just be used to test recipes 40, 50, or even 100 times for adult home cooks. Starting next month, ATK will begin testing children’s recipes ahead of the launch of America’s Test Kitchen Kids, a line of co-branded books that will be produced in partnership with Sourcebooks.

The line, which will be published by Sourcebooks, will start with three books in October 2018 and release between six and 10 titles in 2019. The books will range from hardback books with pictures of baby’s first food to STEM-based picture books to cookbooks. While the inaugural roster is still taking shape, Bishop said it will likely include a mid-level cookbook for the emerging cook.

“We want to introduce positive relationships with food at all ages by using the ATK brand,” said Kelly Barrales-Saylor, editorial director of children’s non-fiction at Sourcebooks. She and Jack Bishop, Creative Director at ATK, will lead the creative teams working on book development and new product generation.

“Look, we want to revolutionize the world of children and food,” said Dominique Raccah, founder of Sourcebooks. PW. She pointed to Sourcebooks’ success in aggressively publishing children’s non-fiction, up 132% so far this year, and noted that America’s Test Kitchen Kids has the same kind of potential. Quoting one of her clients, she said, “Cookbook publishers don’t know how to make children’s books, and children’s book publishers don’t know how to make cookbooks. There was a hole in the market.

Bishop at ATK considers the decision to move to the children’s arena “natural for us.” We see ourselves first and foremost as educators. And the company plans to control its content with young readers the same way it controls its content with adults. Children will actively participate in the process, even adding their testimonials on how the recipes work to the brand’s books.

ATK is planning about a half-dozen test drives with kids in Boston and is also forming an online children’s panel to review the recipes. “One of the things we struggle with is, how do you write a recipe for a child? It’s something we hope to learn from the kids, ”Bishop said. Children will also be shown in the step by step photography of cooking a dish to make the books more suitable for children.

Given ATK’s multimedia approach to cooking for adults, she plans to do the same with her children’s program. With the video capabilities of the new test kitchen, the video will certainly be part of the new brand, which will have a YouTube channel, according to Bishop. “We see this as a multi-pronged approach to teaching the next generation of home cooks to be successful,” he said.

Grover Z. Barnes

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