Finally! I am sharing the great news with you after announcing it to the world, except my blog readers. I’d been experiencing some technical issues with the blog, but all is well now. So here it comes!
“Pomegranates & Saffron” Won the Gourmand Best in the World Award! It happened on June 9, 2015 in Yantai, China where the Gourmand Award Ceremony took place. As I type these words, I am still in disbelief. It is hard to believe that a simple yet somewhat crazy idea to undertake something I had never done before–to write a cookbook–would take me this far, would sprout into something bigger than I had imagined back then. But it did happen. Which proves that even a crazy idea is a good idea if you believe in it:)
My book won a Special Award of the International Jury, which only was granted to a few out of 79 cookbooks that reached the finals out of hundreds of books that were submitted to Gourmand. I am over the moon happy and grateful that my book got noticed. I was nominated in a different category but won in a category that was only revealed on the day of the Awards, a special category that made me feel extra proud for my book.
Here’s a snapshot of the event before the winners were announced.
And here’s my reaction on stage:) My speech was unprepared and I was very happy and nervous at the same time, but I managed to thank my team who helped me with different stages of the book publishing, my family, and my friends all over the world for their support. Which is YOU! So, thank you for being there for me, cheering for me, and for believing in me.
I traveled to Yantai with my family (husband and children), my biggest supporters. Here’s a note my 7-year-old son wrote me before the Awards. Back then he didn’t know he would be coming with me. I had to win to make them all happy:)
And here we are, team “Pomegranates & Saffron,” right after we won.
And here are some other shots taken before and after the ceremony.
The Awards lasted 2 days–first day for drink books and the next for cookbooks. The ceremonies were in the evening and before that the guests were introduced to the cuisine of Yantai through various food demonstrations. This is where I tried sea cucumber (pictured below) and other exotic and unfamiliar sea creatures and fungi for the first time in my life.
Look at these masterpieces carved out of fruits and vegetables! They were stunning. All edible.
And this is where we learned how Peking duck should be served and eaten. It was very delicious!
Back to the after-award pictures. Here I am with Samira Jannatdoust, a beautiful and talented Azerbaijani author and chef from Iran, whose cookbook also won.
And here we are with the winning team from Japan.
Here I am with Mr. Edouard Cointreau, founder of Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.
These are some wonderful people from around the world who we met at the Awards. The friendly, talented people I wish we had more time to spend with. But there is always tomorrow and I look forward to many more Award events for all of us.
From Yantai, we flew to Beijing, where we spent a couple of days exploring that amazing city. We are now in Baku, Azerbaijan, where we will stay for the summer. In my future posts, I will write more about Yantai and Beijing with lots of pictures, and, of course, about Azerbaijan as well. Stay tuned.
And by the way, we are still accepting pre-orders for the Second Edition of “Pomegranates & Saffron.” You can pre-order your copy here:
And here’s the book’s own updated website for additional info:
Stay well, friends, and have a very happy summer! Thank you once again for rooting for me and for your friendship.
WE DID IT TOGETHER!