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Flavours to Savour

recipe book

From both a design and print production perspective – a large recipe book can be quite an undertaking. GSM takes a look at one recently completed example that also doubled as a keepsake and coffee table book.

Falcon Brae Villa & Stonefly Lodge

recipe book Falcon Brae Villa and neighbouring Stonefly Lodge are nestled between three of New Zealand’s most popular national parks at the top of the South Island. Providing exclusive luxury accommodation to discerning guests, they offer the ultimate New Zealand experience.

A Recipe Book to Promote the Lodge

Owners, Kate & John Kerr, along with executive chef, Michael McMeeken, have a shared ethos: A passion for pleasing guests through food. As Michael explains, ‘the inspiration for the food we create is provided by the gardens and nature surrounding us. But also by like-minded locals in the surrounding area. It’s a true kete or basket of love in this district—in New Zealand, for that matter’.

A Keepsake & Promotional Tool

Kate and John wanted to create a keepsake for their guests. A table-top recipe book that also worked as a promotional tool through showcasing the exceptional quality of their culinary fare. The task of book design went to Jane Reed from Nelson-based studio, SeeReed. Food photography was produced by Neil Smith from Chocolate Dog based in nearby Mapua. As Jane explains, ‘Inspiration came from Executive Chef, Michael’s much-loved copy of the famous The French Laundry Cookbook’. The task was to create something of a similar standing’. One design consideration, of which Jane was mindful, was that this was a marketing piece for past and future guests. As well as for agents – it was not a retail book. First and foremost, the 150+ page case bound book needed to promote a luxurious accommodation experience. Elegance and style were high on the list.

Printing at it’s Best

When it came to printing and who to entrust with the task—the decision was easy. As Jane explains, ‘…I only use NZ based printers, so it’s nice to have clients who also believe in supporting local businesses and choose quality over price’. The book was printed by Spectrum in Christchurch. ‘I have been working with Sonia Dench (General Manager at Spectrum Print) for more than 23 years since she was an account manager with another print firm. She came to my rescue back then, and I’ve relied on her ever since’.

recipe book recipe book recipe book

Paper Fit

The selected paper stock for the project was Sumo Matt from the BJ Ball Coated range. For Jane, it was a matter of personal preference, ‘I like the look and feel of Sumo Matt, combined with the fact that it is Forest Stewardship Council Certified (FSC) and Carbon Neutral’.

And as Guy Noble, senior estimator at Spectrum Print explains, ‘Sumo Matt dries well—whether sealed, aqueous coated or not. No other matt sheet has been as consistent as this over the years. It also provides good opacity and lack of show-through. Sumo Laser—the uncoated brother of Sumo Matt, was used for the end-papers as part of the case binding and also for the dust jacket. Sumo Offset has good bulk which enables us to put a well-defined crease down the flap folds. In addition to this, consideration was given to supply in this post-covid climate, ‘With current headaches in supply worldwide, having a suitable sheet in our indent store, with stock readily available off the shelves at BJ Ball made life a whole lot easier.’

Print Technicalities

Spectrum printed the text, dust jacket & shipper slipcase on their offset RYOBI 920, 5 colour with Aqueous coating unit. As many of the layouts included full page images with high ink density, all sheets were satin aqueous coated. In addition, the dust jacket and shipper slipcase were both matt laminated. The custom-made shipper slipcase was developed early in the project to provide extra protection for the book when it was identified that many guests would send these home via international freighting. This was developed by Spectrum with the assistance of Custom Cutting Formes (Christchurch) who produced the dieline, compucut workings & final dummies. The shipper slipcase is printed on 170gsm Sumo Gloss laminated onto BJ Ball Formakote—a New Zealand-made board (see separate article on pages 22-25). The laminating was done by Alpha Laminating (Christchurch).

The Finale

The end result speaks for itself—a high quality book of value. Jane’s reflections on the project, ‘a great project with everyone working seamlessly together. The only tough part—every recipe that was initially proposed made it into the final book… which meant a lot of incredible dishes were made for the photoshoots… which in turn had to be sampled by the team. Those are just the breaks I guess…’

recipe book

Getting the Recipe Right

Successful recipe book design is often a combination of functionality—getting the typography right so the reader can follow the instructions—and letting the photography do a lot of the visual work. Simple is often best. For this project, Photographer Neil Smith not only produced a series of stunning food images—a mix of basic ingredients and prepared recipes—but also location shots of the two properties to provide context for the book. The end result is a strikingly visual 150+ page book.

recipe book

GSM would like to dedicate this article to John Kerr who sadly passed away recently. He leaves Kate and Michael to continue his legacy ‘of pleasing guests through food’. GSM would also like to thank Falcon Brae Villa & Stonefly Lodge + SeeReed Visual Communication, Chocolate Dog & Spectrum Print for their assistance in writing this article.
This article was originally published in GSM20. To read this and other great articles purchase this issue here.