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Awards Watch: Enter the JBF Book Awards!

Andrea Weigl

November 13, 2017


Ellie Krieger at the 2017 James Beard Media Awards (Photo: Kent Miller)

So you’ve written a cookbook and now you want to enter the James Beard Foundation's annual Book Awards. With more than 10 award categories in the mix, where should you enter your prized work? Should a cookbook that’s all about smoothies be entered in the Single Subject category or in the Beverage category? Does an ice cream sandwich cookbook belong in Baking & Desserts or Single Subject? What about a book that surveys Cuban food in Miami?

The Book Awards subcommittee offers guidance on which category is best for authors and publishers. We hope the descriptions below will help you determine which category is right for your book. (Please note that the Book Awards committee reserves the right to move books to other categories when deemed appropriate.)

Read up on the descriptions below, pick your category, and enter. The deadline for 2018 JBF Book Award entries is December 8. Good luck!

(Questions? Email us at

Category Descriptions

American: Books with recipes focused on the cooking or foodways of regions or communities in the United States.

Baking and Desserts: Books with recipes focused on breads, pastries, desserts and other treats.

Beverage: Books with recipes focused on beverages, such as cocktails, beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea or juices.

General: Books with recipes that address a broad scope of cooking, not just a single topic, technique or region.

Health and Special Diets: Books with recipes that focus on improving health and nutrition, or that address specific health issues, such as allergies or diabetes.

International: Books with recipes focused on food or cooking traditions of countries or regions outside of the United States.

Reference, History, and Scholarship: Includes manuals, guides, encyclopedias, culinary arts textbooks, and books that present research related to food, beverage, or foodways.

Restaurant and Professional: Books written by a culinary professional or restaurant chef with recipes that may include advanced cooking techniques, using specialty ingredients and professional equipment.

Single Subject: Books with recipes focused on a single or category of ingredients, a dish, or a method of cooking—such as lobster, seafood, grains, pasta, burgers, or canning. Exceptions: baking and desserts books, vegetable-focused books, health and special diets books, restaurant and professional books, and beverage books should be entered in those respective categories.

Vegetable-Focused Cooking: Books on vegetable cookery with recipes including vegetarian or vegan cooking.

Writing: Narrative nonfiction books including food and beverage memoirs, culinary tourism, investigative journalism, food advocacy, and critical analysis of food and foodways for a general audience.

The 2018 James Beard Media Awards will take place in New York City on Friday, April 27. The 2018 James Beard Awards Gala will take place in Chicago on Monday, May 7.

Learn more about the James Beard Awards.