The Art of Eating Prize, now in its second year, is awarded annually to the author of the year’s best book about food (or food and drink together). Where other food book awards involve nominations in diverse categories, The Art of Eating Prize focuses on a single best book. The founders of the prize, by rewarding the highest quality work, hope to encourage the excellence of food writing in general. The prize is worth $10,000.
The book must be aimed at a broad audience and must have been published in English in the United States in the calendar year preceding the awarding of the prize (for the 2016 prize, books must have been published in 2015). The winner is decided by a panel of judges drawn from varied realms connected with food and drink. In 2015, the seven judges are Garrett Oliver (chair), Harold McGee, Eric Asimov, Tejal Rao, Daniel Patterson, Lisa Abend, and Tamar Adler. Among them are a chef, editors, a historian, a brewer, restaurant critics, and an expert in the science of food. All are writers and among their books are several bestsellers.
To be considered for the prize, books are nominated by their publishers; each imprint may nominate up to three books. There is no charge for nominating a book. Although self-publishers may not nominate their own books, up to two self-published books are nominated by each of five independent bookstores specialized in food — Rabelais in Maine, Kitchen Arts & Letters in New York City, The Cook Book Stall in Philadelphia, The Book Larder in Seattle, and Omnivore Books in San Francisco. In addition, each judge, after all the other nominations are in, may nominate three books. The judges may not be approached directly about the prize, and contacting any of them about a particular book may cause it to be withdrawn from consideration.
For the 2016 prize, nominations open on October 6, 2015 and close on December 1, 2015. On February 2, 2016, a long list of 12 books will be announced, and on February 17 a short list of six books will be announced. The winner will be announced on March 1, 2016.
The 2016 Art of Eating Prize is made possible through the generous support of Chipotle Mexican Grill, Jasper Hill Farm, and Zingerman’s Mail Order.