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Awards Watch: So You Want to Enter the JBF Book Awards

Andrea Weigl

Andrea Weigl

November 11, 2015


Dave Arnold and Sean Brock at the 2015 JBF Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards

So you’ve written a cookbook and now you want to enter the James Beard Foundation's annual Book AwardsWith more than ten 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? 


This year the Book Awards subcommittee is offering 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 2016 JBF Book Award entries is December 11. Good luck! 


Questions? Email us at



Category Descriptions


Single Subject: Books with recipes focused on a specific topic. For example, a single ingredient (lobster, tofu, kale), category of ingredients (seafood, grains), finished dish (pasta, burgers), method of cooking (canning), or an otherwise specific topic. All baking and beverage books go into those respective categories. 


Nonfiction Food Writing: This category embraces food memoir, food advocacy, culinary tourism, investigative journalism, food advocacy, and critical analysis of food and foodways for a general audience.


Reference and Scholarship: This category includes manuals, guides and encyclopedias, as well as books that present research related to foods and foodways. 


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


American: Books with recipes that focus on cooking in the U.S. and/or reflect a region, state, city, area, or group (such as Southern, New York City, Appalachian, Native Americans, Amish, Italian-Americans, etc.).


Baking and Desserts: Books with recipes focused on sweet and/or savory baking, desserts, or frozen treats.


Vegetarian/Vegetable-Focused: Books with recipes that focus on vegetarian cooking, vegan cooking, or vegetable cookery; may include some non-vegetarian items.


Health: Books with recipes that focus on cooking from the perspective of improving health or that address specific health issues, such as allergies or diabetes.


International: Books with recipes in which the primary focus is the food or cooking traditions of countries outside the United States.


Professional: Books with recipes written primarily for a culinary professional that focus on advanced cooking techniques, specialty ingredients, and professional equipment, and textbooks written specifically for technique-driven culinary education. 


Beverage: Books that focus on aspects of alcoholic beverages, including wine, spirits, cocktails, and beer.



The 2016 JBF Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards will take place in New York City on Tuesday, April 26. The 2016 James Beard Awards Gala will take place in Chicago on Monday, May 2.