For 40 Years, the Ekus Group Has Been Supporting and

The Ideal Components

The staff at the Ekus Group in the reference library that Lisa Ekus has built over the earlier 40 several years.

The Hatfield-centered Ekus Group describes itself as a ‘full-services culinary company.’ This is a one of a kind niche definitely, a single that has been successfully cultivated more than the earlier 40 a long time, during which time the title Ekus, like the names of lots of of the authors the corporation signifies, has become acknowledged across the nation and all around the entire world. Summing up the broad vary of products and services, companions Lisa and Sally Ekus (mother and daughter) say they “bring chefs out from driving the stove.”

If a single wanted to achieve a full appreciation for how the organization started by Lisa Ekus again in 1982 has developed, developed, and emerged over the past 40 many years, perhaps the spot to start off is in what she calls her reference library.

It has turn out to be the centerpiece — whilst there are quite a few of individuals — of the 250-calendar year-previous renovated farmhouse in Hatfield she phone calls residence. She begun with a modest assortment collected in substantial school and college or university, and has grown it to 7,000 volumes, with far more extra seemingly just about every 7 days there is a pile of publications outside her office for reading through and feasible addition to the selection.

There are operates of fiction put in one compact section, but the relaxation — considerably like Ekus’s vocation, and that of her daughter, Sally Ekus, now a husband or wife in this venture — are devoted to food and cooking. The volumes are diligently cataloged and arranged by many subjects, meaning every thing from meals kinds to geographic regions, authors to individual nations she not long ago extra two volumes on Polish cuisine.

“There were being organizations that did e book PR. But we seriously honed in on cooks, cookbooks, foods organizations, and knowing the evolution and progress of what was going on on a incredibly extensive world-wide phase.”

The library, like her perform to generate what have come to be recognised as ‘culinary stars,’ is a passion.

“It’s all structured physically, it goes all over the world by place, and then it goes via our state by region,” she advised BusinessWest. “And there’s specialty, one topics — soup, health and diet plan, wine … you name it. I’ve examine maybe 75% of them and I’ve touched them all in some way.”

When asked what makes a reserve worthy of placement in the library, Sally answered for her mother. “It has to be … exceptional.”

That is a phrase that could, and must, also be applied to this enterprise, previously acknowledged as the Lisa Ekus Team, but altered a short while ago to replicate Sally’s additional notable part. In truth, there are couple businesses like this anywhere, and most likely only a single in a rural location like Hatfield. And while the library does a excellent work of conveying its progress and existence, it doesn’t … well, explain to the comprehensive tale — pun pretty significantly intended.

To totally recognize, we need to have to visit other rooms of the property, which is adjacent to the company’s workplaces and performs a huge part in working day-to-day action.

Like the eating home and its huge desk. Here, Lisa Ekus has hosted virtually 1000’s of people for supper about the many years, which include culinary celebs these types of as Julia Youngster, Emeril Lagasse, and plenty of other individuals.

Sally Ekus, left, with her mother and business partner, Lisa Ekus.

Sally Ekus, left, with her mother and small business companion, Lisa Ekus.

Or the close by kitchen, which doubles as a Tv studio wherever numerous of these similar cooks have mastered the wonderful art of cooking for a tv viewers, a business niche that the Ekus Group has cultivated in excess of the yrs.

Or the big side porch that Ekus included on the assets various several years in the past. Here, she does extra entertaining with all those who have come to be celebs and individuals who want to get that status.

Or the Airbnb that she just lately opened with the acceptable name Cooks Chateau. As the pandemic has eased and leisure and company journey have returned, she has booked the area for the up coming various months, and initiatives that it will sooner or later become a solid profit center.

With each other, these spaces in the Ekus household speak to a massively profitable small business, a single that carries on to insert new traces to its recipe for achievement, these types of as a digital “How to Generate a Cookbook” course that Sally considers a rational extension of what the company has done for the earlier four a long time (a lot more on it afterwards).

Seeking forward, Sally mentioned the organization will continue on to evolve and improve, but most likely remain a boutique, as in “small” company that can provide personalized provider to its lots of forms of purchasers.

“It’s not ‘here’s a book — let us market it. We want to detect the one of a kind selling factors and where in the marketplace this could in good shape how can we aid an author and a publisher articulate what the main concentrate and objective of this particular reserve is. That’s what we do.”

“We have a need to improve deliberately in a way that carries on to guidance the function that our existing staff loves to do and also perhaps bringing in a handful of new expertise to expand issues like our agent-representation method and our expertise representation, and also continue on to buildout our workshops and culinary know-how,” she reported.

For this situation and its emphasis on girls in enterprise, we talked with Lisa and Sally Ekus about the very first 40 years at this distinctive company and what may well occur following. Placing it in point of view, Lisa said the apparent:

“We have so a lot enjoyment with what we do it’s one particular of the best industries to be in.”


Class of Action

For Sally Ekus, the phrase ‘growing up in the small business,’ has most likely additional meaning than it does for most 2nd-generation enterprise house owners and professionals.

Indeed, because the Ekus house was — and is — also the office, but also the area in which numerous celebs and stars in waiting arrived to meet with Lisa Ekus, cook, dine, and chat soon after meals with her, and Sally was component of all that she actually grew up in the small business — and about people like Julia Little one.

And while she fondly remembers what she phone calls “the very good previous days,” she arrived of age, and grew to become section of the small business, as the scene was shifting, with developments this kind of as web site-to-e-book discounts, on the internet recipes, the rise of self-publishing, and significantly much more.

From left, Lisa Ekus, Julia Child, and Irena Chalmers

From left, Lisa Ekus, Julia Little one, and Irena Chalmers, a observed writer and foodstuff commentator at 1 of numerous gatherings in the backyard of the company’s residence in Hatfield.

Right now, the organization even now celebrates the previous when embracing the new, and Sally and Lisa are planning the future programs, if you will, for this undertaking, when continuing to offer the products and services that have created this firm so successful more than the past 4 many years. Summing them up, Lisa said she, Sally, and the assembled staff “bring individuals out from driving the stove.”

By that, she means that the enterprise assists individuals with culinary capabilities cultivate a manufacturer even though also assisting them acquire skills in other spots needed to become a accurate culinary celebrity — every thing from composing a cookbook and receiving it released, to finding out how to cook for a tv viewers, to successful self-advertising.

Whilst there have been cookbooks for maybe a century now, there wasn’t, until eventually lately, a concentrate on the chefs, the authors of these cookbooks, reported Sally, noting that the Ekus Team devotes its energies to putting them front and centre, and building them, as significantly as their recipes, the stars of the exhibit.

It is a package deal of companies that, jointly, make the firm exclusive and has enabled it to assemble a consumer record that is a veritable who’s who in the culinary globe, with luminaries such as Haile Thomas, Toni Tipton-Martin, Davis Olson, and a lot of other people.

Turning back the clock 40 yrs, Lisa Ekus mentioned she started her business to fill a need to have for a small business that centered on ebook PR. She moved to the valley from New York Metropolis and brought with her an in depth portfolio of connections and working experience.

“I produced the business enterprise due to the fact of, and by means of, my connections in New York publishing,” she discussed. “So, I experienced a terrific foundation upon which to draw purchasers and get tips.”

In essence, she was accomplishing remote perform in advance of anyone understood what remote work was, she went on, including that she liked the life style in Western Mass. and was committed to constructing a organization below and touring again to Gotham — or any place else she essential to go — when needed.

About the following several years, the organization would build a culinary market and grow to be, in her estimation, the very first and only culinary PR reserve company in the state.

“There had been companies that did guide PR,” she went on. “But we actually honed in on cooks, cookbooks, meals businesses, and knowledge the evolution and progress of what was going on on a quite wide world wide stage. Our market was putting it ahead in ebook kind.

“We worked to put our authors and their know-how out there via the handles of their textbooks,” she went on. “No a person had genuinely concentrated on the personalities, the authorities within just the categories they wrote about — like Rose Levy Beranbaum and desserts she wrote The Cake Bible, or Lynn Rosseto Kasper, who founded and was the host of Splendid Table for a long time she was an skilled on the Emelia-Romagna segment of Italy.

“Books ended up just place out there,” she continued. “And we seriously brought the knowledge forward on a nationwide degree. And I seriously love personally to understand wherever somebody comes from and what they write about. It’s not only one more ebook about cookies or Italy or where ever it is being familiar with and taking a deep dive into food stuff.”


Stirring Factors Up

Though the Ekus Team stays grounded in the rules and solutions on which it was founded, it has surely advanced in excess of the a long time and transformed as the occasions have.

The most important transform has merely been the emergence of foodstuff and cooking, mentioned Lisa, noting that, 40 decades in the past, there ended up really several celeb chefs, no television networks devoted to the matter, exponentially much less cookbooks remaining composed yearly, handful of who knew what veganism was, and far much less individuals who would say they are truly into the culinary arts.

Commencing in the early 90s, matters began to modify, she recalled, and now the landscape is substantially distinct.

“We’re inclined to, and want to, investigate food items origins,” Lisa explained. “We want to say, ‘I’m going to cook dinner an entire Korean meal this weekend, and I’m going to invest in authentic components and I’m going to make it from scratch. Persons have taken up cooking and food as a main pastime, and it is a massive sector economically in the place.”

Elaborating, she explained the foodstuff business has transformed alone into the foodstuff enterprises — hundreds of diverse kinds, from importers to suppliers to specialty food items purveyors.

The Ekus Group has positioned itself to thrive in this natural environment, mentioned the two companions, by means of the cookbook, but also a really hard focus on serving all those who want to be gamers in this movement, if it can however be termed that, be they book writers, bloggers, podcast hosts, or simply all those who want to just take their culinary capabilities to another aircraft.

Ekus’s home

Best, the kitchen in Lisa Ekus’s house doubles as a studio for education cooks om how to cook dinner right before a Tv set audience. Earlier mentioned, a single of the rooms in the Cooks Chateau.

Elaborating, Sally said the company is functioning with many hundred clientele a year and perhaps a couple of dozen at any given time on precise reserve jobs. Total, the get the job done entails making their brand, she reported, and getting them over and above their initially book, whilst they definitely help numerous get started off.

“Oftentimes, it is not just one particular e book or the 1st reserve, whilst we really like that it begins there,” she described. “It’s the 2nd, the 3rd, fourth, fifth, and further than we assistance them establish their brand by means of their publishing career.”

Lisa agreed, and explained the business assists individuals at a variety of levels of the e book-composing procedure, from establishing a principle, to locating a publisher, to capturing a image for the include.

The broad goal is to ‘position’ the book, she went on, introducing the Ekus Team specializes in this benefit-additional company.

“It’s not ‘here’s a reserve — let’s sell it,’” she informed BusinessWest. “We want to recognize the special providing details and in which in the marketplace this may possibly fit how can we assistance an creator and a publisher articulate what the main emphasis and intention of this specific e-book is. That is what we do.”

Shifting ahead, the corporation is generally searching for different ways to share its expertise in this significant and growing market, she went on, adding that this attitude has led to new and distinct initiatives, this sort of as the on-line How to Compose a Cookbook study course.

There are many these types of programs on the Internet, said Sally, but couple of if any that convey the Ekus Group’s level of expertise and comprehending of what would make a guide profitable at a time when cabinets are crammed with new titles, and more are penned just about every week.

“I recognized that we had been receiving the same inquiries about publishing, and cookbook publishing in specific, about and over once again, no matter whether they’re from our purchasers, the consults that we do, or just standard curiosity in this field,” she explained. “So a few a long time in the past, I considered ‘how can we extend a main price of ours, which is to be a source in this sector?’ And I place jointly this program, which is an extension of our expertise.”

Elaborating, she said it aids respond to concerns about self-publishing versus conventional publishing, how to stand out, the part of agents, and much additional.

Therefore much, the program, which functions more than 20 “exclusive, insider tips” from Sally Ekus, has drawn considerable fascination, mentioned the partners, adding that it enhances other services, these as schooling in culinary media, which ranges from cooking on Tv or just before a stay audience, to conducting a radio interview. Cooking is just one ability, explained Sally, but media appearances are an additional … kettle of fish.

“There are a good deal of people today who say ‘I’m a meals professional,’ or ‘I want to be renowned and cook and discuss on television,’” she reported. “But there is a really specific skill and identity that desires to be cultivated and experienced, so we formulated this program, which is the 1st of its type in this room.”

Over the past 40 years or so, hundreds, including celebs like Lagasse, recognized for his mastery of Creole and Cajun delicacies, have had these kinds of education in that kitchen in the Ekus property.

As famous, countless cooking celebrities have come to Hatfield above the yrs, and now additional are earning the trek with the new Airbnb, which, as its name implies, has a culinary concentrate.

“People can visit us, irrespective of whether they’re a client or not, and be impressed, write, prepare dinner, visit the library, and far more,” reported Sally, introducing that as a lot more individuals come to be a lot more at ease with travelling, she expects that the place will become well-liked with people seeking for a quiet location to make — no matter if it is with a laptap or on a stove.


Food stuff for Assumed

Summing up 40 decades in business enterprise and the frame of mind that drives the Ekus Group, Lisa stated, “some people try to eat to are living we are living to take in and to rejoice the writers, the authors, the cooks who are executing it so brilliantly.”

And by celebrating them, it is helping them navigate the path to getting to be celebrities — on one degree or another.

This business enterprise is, like people publications on the reference library cabinets, exceptional. And as the small business marks 40 a long time, people rooms in the Ekus household demonstrate just how much it has occur and the place it can even now go.


George O’Brien can be achieved at [email protected]