Behind the book scenes

I think I have mentioned it before, but I never really had the idea to write a book about the Bread Exchange. I did enjoy writing on my blog, and I loved collecting stories through my project, but that was it.

When the US publisher Chronicle books approached me in 2012 I was a bit reluctant. I knew their books, but not the company. I started to call everyone I knew with any kind of connection in the business to check them out.

My thought was “If I was going to do a book, it should be about the people making this project and then the publisher is just as important.” I always try to choose a cooperation partner who’s values I can stand for. Not only will the publisher promote you. If things goes as they should YOU will at one point also promote your publisher.

Since I had never considered to make a book before I was not eager to make a book at any price.

So I booked a ticket to San Francisco to test my guts feeling.

My gut feeling said yes. So I said Yes.


One of the people that convinced me was Vanessa Dina, Design director at Chronicle books. She has been working there for 11 years.

We met over a sandwich for lunch and talked about life and values. Apart from Vanessa -and my great editor Lorena- what also convinced me on that first meeting was hearing about Chronicles employee attitude which seemed almost European. Unlike many American companies Chronicle offers 5 weeks holiday/year. And after 10 year you can take a 3 month sabbatical. When I heard this I decided to do the book. Regardless how much I like the US, I am really not in favor of the normal 2 weeks yearly holiday approach.


Last September Vanessa took her sabbatical and started of her three month world journey at my home in Berlin. You can read about her journey here (lots of typography images of course!). It was great having her even though the restaurants and markets I could offer in my city definitely didn’t  live up to her San Francisco standards. Berlin is a little bit late on the food scene (which makes it a great playground for new concepts).

But we are getting there, I promise you.


This is what it looks like when Vanessa cooks. Serving us the great pinot noir from Scribe.

Oh, I almost forgot. Vanessa also has a girls meat club. Check out her book “The Meat Clubs Cook book. For gals who love their meat!”

MalinBehind the book scenes

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