The Ideal Substances
The Hatfield-based mostly Ekus Group describes alone as a ‘full-company culinary agency.’ This is a unique niche certainly, just one that has been efficiently cultivated more than the previous 40 yrs, all through which time the title Ekus, like the names of a lot of of the authors the business signifies, has develop into recognised throughout the state and about the world. Summing up the broad selection of companies, associates Lisa and Sally Ekus (mom and daughter) say they “bring chefs out from guiding the stove.”
If a single needed to acquire a complete appreciation for how the enterprise started by Lisa Ekus again in 1982 has grown, evolved, and emerged around the past 40 many years, possibly the location to start out is in what she calls her reference library.
It has become the centerpiece — even though there are many of individuals — of the 250-year-old renovated farmhouse in Hatfield she calls home. She began with a small collection gathered in superior university and school, and has grown it to 7,000 volumes, with a lot more extra seemingly each individual 7 days there’s a pile of guides exterior her office environment for studying and achievable addition to the selection.
There are functions of fiction put in 1 smaller section, but the relaxation — considerably like Ekus’s profession, and that of her daughter, Sally Ekus, now a associate in this enterprise — are devoted to food and cooking. The volumes are diligently cataloged and arranged by different subjects, indicating anything from foodstuff types to geographic areas, authors to person international locations she lately extra two volumes on Polish delicacies.
“There were businesses that did e-book PR. But we truly honed in on chefs, cookbooks, food items organizations, and knowledge the evolution and advancement of what was taking place on a very extensive worldwide phase.”
The library, like her work to build what have come to be acknowledged as ‘culinary stars,’ is a enthusiasm.
“It’s all structured physically, it goes all over the world by nation, and then it goes via our state by area,” she instructed BusinessWest. “And there is specialty, single topics — soup, health and fitness and diet plan, wine … you identify it. I have browse possibly 75% of them and I have touched them all in some way.”
When asked what would make a book worthy of placement in the library, Sally answered for her mother. “It has to be … one of a kind.”
That is a phrase that could, and should, also be utilized to this enterprise, formerly identified as the Lisa Ekus Team, but altered just lately to reflect Sally’s more popular position. In fact, there are several corporations like this anywhere, and probably only a single in a rural setting like Hatfield. And whilst the library does a great work of conveying its expansion and presence, it doesn’t … perfectly, inform the entire tale — pun pretty significantly supposed.
To fully understand, we will need to visit other rooms of the household, which is adjacent to the company’s workplaces and plays a enormous part in working day-to-working day exercise.
Like the dining room and its huge desk. Here, Lisa Ekus has hosted virtually thousands of persons for dinner over the a long time, including culinary stars these kinds of as Julia Little one, Emeril Lagasse, and plenty of other individuals.
Or the nearby kitchen, which doubles as a Television set studio where by numerous of these exact chefs have mastered the fine artwork of cooking for a tv audience, a company specialized niche that the Ekus Group has cultivated around the years.
Or the huge facet porch that Ekus included on the home a number of a long time in the past. Listed here, she does much more entertaining with all those who have come to be stars and all those who want to acquire that position.
Or the Airbnb that she lately opened with the correct name Cooks Chateau. As the pandemic has eased and leisure and organization vacation have returned, she has booked the area for the upcoming many months, and projects that it will inevitably grow to be a good revenue center.
Together, these areas in the Ekus residence speak to a massively prosperous enterprise, 1 that continues to add new traces to its recipe for achievement, these as a digital “How to Produce a Cookbook” study course that Sally considers a sensible extension of what the business has done for the previous four a long time (much more on it later).
Wanting forward, Sally claimed the corporation will continue on to evolve and develop, but probably continue to be a boutique, as in “small” agency that can provide personalized service to its many varieties of clientele.
“It’s not ‘here’s a ebook — let us offer it. We want to discover the exclusive marketing points and where in the market this could in good shape how can we help an creator and a publisher articulate what the major target and aim of this certain ebook is. Which is what we do.”
“We have a need to improve intentionally in a way that carries on to help the do the job that our recent staff enjoys to do and also perhaps bringing in a handful of new talent to grow points like our agent-representation program and our talent illustration, and also carry on to buildout our workshops and culinary expertise,” she mentioned.
For this situation and its aim on women in enterprise, we talked with Lisa and Sally Ekus about the to start with 40 years at this exclusive organization and what might occur following. Putting it in standpoint, Lisa mentioned the clear:
“We have so considerably fun with what we do it’s a single of the ideal industries to be in.”
System of Motion
For Sally Ekus, the phrase ‘growing up in the business,’ has potentially additional that means than it does for most next-era organization house owners and managers.
Indeed, due to the fact the Ekus property was — and is — also the place of work, but also the spot wherever countless stars and celebs in waiting came to meet up with with Lisa Ekus, cook, dine, and chat right after foods with her, and Sally was component of all that she literally grew up in the enterprise — and about folks like Julia Youngster.
And although she fondly remembers what she phone calls “the great outdated days,” she arrived of age, and became component of the enterprise, as the scene was switching, with developments this kind of as site-to-ebook deals, on the net recipes, the increase of self-publishing, and significantly more.
Currently, the enterprise continue to celebrates the aged even though embracing the new, and Sally and Lisa are organizing the subsequent courses, if you will, for this undertaking, even though continuing to give the companies that have created this enterprise so successful in excess of the earlier four many years. Summing them up, Lisa said she, Sally, and the assembled group “bring persons out from driving the stove.”
By that, she indicates that the organization aids individuals with culinary competencies cultivate a brand name even though also encouraging them create expertise in other places needed to grow to be a real culinary celebrity — anything from creating a cookbook and obtaining it printed, to understanding how to cook dinner for a television audience, to powerful self-promotion.
Even though there have been cookbooks for probably a century now, there was not, right up until recently, a target on the cooks, the authors of these cookbooks, reported Sally, noting that the Ekus Group devotes its energies to putting them front and heart, and producing them, as a lot as their recipes, the stars of the show.
It is a bundle of companies that, together, make the company unique and has enabled it to assemble a client checklist that is a veritable who’s who in the culinary entire world, with luminaries these as Haile Thomas, Toni Tipton-Martin, Davis Olson, and a lot of other folks.
Turning back again the clock 40 decades, Lisa Ekus mentioned she started her business to fill a want for a business that targeted on book PR. She moved to the valley from New York Metropolis and introduced with her an substantial portfolio of connections and practical experience.
“I created the enterprise mainly because of, and by, my connections in New York publishing,” she spelled out. “So, I experienced a great base upon which to attract consumers and get recommendations.”
In essence, she was carrying out remote function just before any person knew what remote perform was, she went on, incorporating that she liked the life style in Western Mass. and was fully commited to developing a business here and touring back to Gotham — or everywhere else she necessary to go — when wanted.
Over the up coming a number of decades, the firm would establish a culinary area of interest and grow to be, in her estimation, the 1st and only culinary PR ebook company in the region.
“There were businesses that did e book PR,” she went on. “But we genuinely honed in on cooks, cookbooks, meals providers, and knowledge the evolution and expansion of what was going on on a very wide world stage. Our market was placing it forward in e book variety.
“We worked to put our authors and their skills out there as a result of the addresses of their books,” she went on. “No a single experienced actually concentrated on the personalities, the industry experts within just the groups they wrote about — like Rose Levy Beranbaum and desserts she wrote The Cake Bible, or Lynn Rosseto Kasper, who started and was the host of Splendid Desk for decades she was an expert on the Emelia-Romagna section of Italy.
“Books had been just set out there,” she continued. “And we truly brought the knowledge forward on a countrywide stage. And I seriously appreciate personally to realize wherever somebody comes from and what they create about. It’s not basically a different e book about cookies or Italy or where ever it’s comprehension and taking a deep dive into food stuff.”
Stirring Factors Up
While the Ekus Team stays grounded in the ideas and products and services on which it was started, it has surely evolved above the decades and adjusted as the times have.
The largest change has merely been the emergence of food and cooking, stated Lisa, noting that, 40 years ago, there were being very several celebrity cooks, no television networks devoted to the topic, exponentially much less cookbooks becoming written on a yearly basis, couple of who realized what veganism was, and considerably much less individuals who would say they are genuinely into the culinary arts.
Setting up in the early 90s, issues begun to transform, she recalled, and today the landscape is much distinct.
“We’re ready to, and want to, examine food items origins,” Lisa discussed. “We want to say, ‘I’m heading to cook dinner an whole Korean meal this weekend, and I’m heading to buy authentic elements and I’m heading to make it from scratch. Individuals have taken up cooking and food as a main interest, and it is a substantial sector economically in the region.”
Elaborating, she mentioned the food items company has reworked by itself into the foodstuff companies — hundreds of different forms, from importers to suppliers to specialty food stuff purveyors.
The Ekus Team has positioned alone to thrive in this environment, reported the two associates, through the cookbook, but also a tough emphasis on serving those who want to be gamers in this motion, if it can continue to be referred to as that, be they ebook writers, bloggers, podcast hosts, or basically those people who want to take their culinary capabilities to another airplane.
Elaborating, Sally explained the corporation is operating with quite a few hundred clients a year and maybe a several dozen at any given time on precise reserve tasks. In general, the work consists of setting up their model, she stated, and getting them past their very first reserve, even though they undoubtedly aid numerous get started.
“Oftentimes, it’s not just a person e book or the initial reserve, while we appreciate that it begins there,” she discussed. “It’s the next, the 3rd, fourth, fifth, and past we support them build their model by way of their publishing occupation.”
Lisa agreed, and stated the organization can help all those at various phases of the e-book-producing procedure, from building a strategy, to acquiring a publisher, to taking pictures a image for the go over.
The wide goal is to ‘position’ the guide, she went on, introducing the Ekus Group specializes in this worth-added services.
“It’s not ‘here’s a book — let us provide it,’” she informed BusinessWest. “We want to establish the special selling factors and the place in the market this could possibly in shape how can we support an author and a publisher articulate what the primary target and aim of this distinct guide is. That’s what we do.”
Transferring ahead, the company is always hunting for distinctive techniques to share its skills in this substantial and expanding sector, she went on, incorporating that this mindset has led to new and distinctive initiatives, these kinds of as the online How to Write a Cookbook course.
There are numerous such courses on the Online, explained Sally, but several if any that deliver the Ekus Group’s amount of abilities and knowledge of what makes a e-book prosperous at a time when cabinets are crammed with new titles, and a lot more are penned each and every 7 days.
“I understood that we had been getting the same inquiries about publishing, and cookbook publishing in distinct, in excess of and more than once again, no matter whether they’re from our shoppers, the consults that we do, or just common curiosity in this sector,” she defined. “So a few years ago, I thought ‘how can we prolong a core worth of ours, which is to be a source in this market?’ And I set jointly this program, which is an extension of our experience.”
Elaborating, she reported it allows remedy issues about self-publishing versus traditional publishing, how to stand out, the function of brokers, and a lot extra.
As a result considerably, the training course, which options far more than 20 “exclusive, insider tips” from Sally Ekus, has drawn appreciable fascination, mentioned the associates, introducing that it complements other services, these as instruction in culinary media, which ranges from cooking on Tv set or in advance of a stay audience, to conducting a radio job interview. Cooking is 1 skill, mentioned Sally, but media appearances are an additional … kettle of fish.
“There are a lot of individuals who say ‘I’m a foods pro,’ or ‘I want to be well-known and cook dinner and communicate on tv,’” she stated. “But there’s a really unique talent and identity that requires to be cultivated and qualified, so we produced this method, which is the first of its type in this space.”
Above the earlier 40 decades or so, hundreds, such as celebrities like Lagasse, acknowledged for his mastery of Creole and Cajun cuisine, have had this kind of education in that kitchen in the Ekus property.
As famous, many cooking superstars have arrive to Hatfield over the several years, and now far more are producing the trek with the new Airbnb, which, as its identify indicates, has a culinary concentrate.
“People can take a look at us, whether or not they’re a client or not, and be encouraged, write, cook dinner, take a look at the library, and additional,” claimed Sally, adding that as far more persons turn out to be far more comfortable with travelling, she expects that the place will turn into popular with those people on the lookout for a quiet spot to build — whether or not it’s with a laptap or on a stove.
Food items for Imagined
Summing up 40 several years in enterprise and the mindset that drives the Ekus Team, Lisa reported, “some individuals try to eat to dwell we dwell to eat and to rejoice the writers, the authors, the cooks who are accomplishing it so brilliantly.”
And by celebrating them, it is serving to them navigate the route to turning out to be stars — on a single amount or one more.
This enterprise is, like all those guides on the reference library shelves, one of a kind. And as the business enterprise marks 40 yrs, all those rooms in the Ekus property clearly show just how significantly it has come and the place it can still go.
George O’Brien can be achieved at [email protected]