I've been keeping a project quite quiet for a few months and last Friday, I got the green light to shout it from the rooftops, hence me sharing it here now. The lovely Kristin Jensen, the editor behind many of Ireland's cookbooks, and the woman behind new publishing house, Nine Bean Rows Books, have launched a super cool project called Blasta Books. They are a series of small books, hard cover, fully illustrated by Dublin artist Nicky Hooper and designed by Jane Matthews. They are aimed at people who enjoy the quirky side of food. They are what street food is to restaurant: fun and accesible, plus they are beautifully edited and curated by Kristin. The Blasta Books are small books with big voices and I am honoured to be the first book in this cool series!!!
When Kristin first reached out in January, I couldn't believe my luck! I had always wanted to work with her and through one thing or another over the years we had never had the chance. I jumped to the idea and signed the deal almost immediately. My book TACOS will bring family style, totally achievable recipes from my Mexican kitchen to yours; showcasing some of my favourite recipes and introducing a few new ones. I am beyond excited about this and deep in recipe testing and finishing the manuscript at the moment, so apart from the few weeks before and after my dad's passing, where I couldn't get myself to cook at all, the process has been incredibly enjoyable and it has given me something to get out of bed for. My only regret is that my lovely Dad, always so quick to be super proud of my achievements, didn't get to see the beautiful cover.
This post has been on the making for at least four years. The transition from food blogging as a hobby to food business owner happened in a very controlled way. I opened an online shop while still working my regular full-time paid job. The first 4 years were a lot of fun, full of learning and mistakes. Although we were aiming to be super professional, It felt like a 'nixer'. I still had a full back up by not giving up the day job. I was putting 100% of my free time: every early morning, most lunch hours, all my evenings and weekends all to the business but there was no real pressure to perform as I wasn't depending on it to feed me or to pay the bills. The business grew and flourished in those four years while I slowly entertained the idea of going at it full time.
Then, Picado happened almost overnight. We went from having a great time managing an online business from home on a part-time basis, to giving up my full-time job, getting premises, fitting out a shop and a cooking school, renting warehouse space, signing contracts, putting personal guarantees and committing financial resources and time to a dream of mine with no safety net. It was super scary as we did it all in the midst of the worse recession my generation had seen in this island. It was a pretty ballsy move. Despite all these scary things, it was like all my dreams were coming true at once. I was going to make a living from my love of food; my passion for Mexican food and the pride for my heritage was going to finally pay off. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.