Food and Drink

How This Boutique Cookbook Publisher Is Reimagining the Industry

The publishers started in the pandemic to help their own local restaurants, but are now looking to expand worldwide.

Photo: Somekind Press
Photo: Somekind Press
Photo: Somekind Press

Avid cookbook collectors know the magic of flipping through sleek pages with gorgeous photography, tried-and-true recipes, and insightful stories woven between the covers. Cookbooks serve as a snapshot of a time and place for restaurants and chefs and function as beloved keepsakes for enthusiastic fans.

But cookbook publishing is a challenging-and slow moving-industry to be in. The time and effort it takes to pitch a concept, write and draft and test the recipes, develop the cover, edit the book, and all the other intricacies it takes to finish such a project can span over years. But when the COVID-19 pandemic emerged earlier in 2020, it became obvious that some restaurants wouldn’t have those years-or even months-to hang on due to the economic fallout of the pandemic. This very predicament is what motivated Simon Davis and Vaughan Mossop, the co founders of Somekind Press, to create their own scrappy and quick-paced publishing house that is, in their own words, “hyperlocal.”

Both Mossop and Davis have cut their teeth in cookbook publishing, so although Somekind’s structure and business model is different, building out the content within the pages was familiar to the pair. “[I was] concerned around my friends in the hospitality industry and thought, ‘What could I do to help?’ If there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s to create cookbooks,” Mossop said of the lightbulb moment that brought Somekind to life. “I thought I’d make cookbooks for these venues to sell directly to their fanbase or their communities to support them and flip the publishing model on its head a bit to give most of the profit to the venues. When this started, I thought we’d sell maybe a couple hundred and then I’d just dust off my hands and go to the next freelance job or whatever. But it kind of blew up pretty quickly and all of the sudden we were giving a good amount of money to these venues and actually showing real support to them.”Somekind’s cookbooks follow an innovative, dreamt up business model that feels like a foil to traditional publishing. For starters, the majority of the money raised goes directly to venues-the remaining is then split among creative contributors, like designers, photographers, and editors. The cookbooks double as a crowdfunding source and work on a preorder basis; if 100 copies of a cookbook aren’t sold, the title will not go to print and the money that has been raised will be donated to the venue. “A normal, traditional publisher will invest in say, 10,000 copies that get printed in China and then hope to sell all of them and need to push that to make sure that they’re accountable to sell them,” Mossop explained. “Because we crowdfund and preorder all of these, we actually don’t need to keep stock so we only print what we sell so we don’t have any waste.” 
It’s an entirely new method of publishing, which is reflected in the name of their company: it’s not traditional publishing nor is it digital, it’s just some kind of publishing. 

Though both Mossop and Davis are conscientious of the environmental impact that comes with creating physical books, it was important to the pair that the stories they helped restaurants tell came in the form of a tangible book. “We live in a world now that there’s so much content that is out there but still that value on the physical thing is very special,” Davis said. “I think the name Takeaway reflects that; it’s literally something to take away from the venue to keep. To own. It’s important.”

Their Takeaway series, which allows chefs and restaurateurs the freedom and creativity to tell their own stories and share signature recipes, began in Australia-highlighting iconic food spaces that are cherished within their communities. Since the initial launch in March of 2020, Somekind has expanded stateside to Los Angeles. But rather than consulting a “Best LA restaurants list” or reaching out to the most popular venues, Davis and Mossop took a more local approach.

Photo: Somekind Press
Photo: Somekind Press
Photo: Somekind Press

“We’ve got a good handle on Australia as far as the places and we work with commissioning editors to find places that are really plugged into their community. But because this whole series is about community, it didn’t make sense for us to just go online and find the coolest places that have the most accolades in LA. So we approached Now Serving because we just knew that they’re very plugged in… They understood that this was a very community-focused thing; we wanted places that are important to LA.”

As of now, venues include Michelin-starred strip mall joint, Kato, and Downtown LA’s celebrated flour-and-lard-fueled tortilla spot, Sonoratown

But Davis and Mossop don’t want to just stop in Los Angeles. They have their sights set on New York, Tokyo, and beyond-with plans to connect with the locals who know their restaurant scenes best and can develop curated places to pick from. 

And though Somekind started in the pandemic as a way to support struggling restaurants, Mossop and Davis see Somekind existing beyond this challenging period. “It’s definitely shown us that there is a place for a hyperlocal publisher, a community-focused publisher to be able to tell some of these stories in ways that traditional media-whether that’s magazine or online-doesn’t normally afford them this time and space to be able to do,” Davis said. “I think that people are buying into the series not just because they want to support their own locals, but because they want to hear these stories going forward.”Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email and subscribe here for our YouTube channel to get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Kat Thompson is a staff writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @katthompsonn

Food and Drink

How Talking Terps Has Influenced Cannabis Hype Culture

The origins and optimism behind the cannabis brand that sells out drops within minutes. Canabis...

Photo courtesy of Buckle Your Brain
Photo courtesy of Buckle Your Brain
Photo courtesy of Buckle Your Brain

Many cannabis brands describe themselves as “lifestyle brands” and “cultural disruptors.” Few of them actually impact lifestyles or broader cultural trends. Only one of them has figurines up on Stock X right now.

“For OG Terp Crawford to be featured amongst Nike, Jordans, Supreme, BAPE, and PS5s is really sick,” says Hope Lord, co-founder of cannabis lifestyle brand Talking Terps. “Stock X is not taking everyone who makes a toy and putting it up there.”Between their psychedelic graphics, cannabis-adjacent accessories, and famous OG Terp Crawford figurine, Talking Terps has established a cult following amongst cannabis enthusiasts, hypebeasts, and beyond. On paper, it’s a lifestyle brand interested in both cannabis and psychedelics. In action, Talking Terps is an alternative universe that bridges the gaps between toy culture, cannabis culture, psychedelic culture, and American pop culture.

The brand was established as a concept in 2015 by Leor Feit aka Hope Lord, Flatbush Zombies member Antonio Lewis aka Zombie Juice, and Flatbush Zombies spiritual adviser Phil Annand aka PTA Haiti 3000. One year later, the phrase “talking terps” popped in a Flatbush Zombies song, referring to terpenes, a compound found in cannabis.

“We had a show at Red Rocks in Colorado,” Lord recalls. “I had a friend that was part of Blue River Terpenes who brought us the first sample of cannabis-derived terpenes. Then Juice and Erick made a song with it in the chorus.”

Talking Terps
Talking Terps
Talking Terps

Once Talking Terps emerged as a phrase, the graphics, accessories, apparel, events, and, of course, toys were soon to follow. By 2017, the phrase was spotted on one of Snoop Dogg’s t-shirts. In 2019, the concept of Terp Crawford was born, launching the brand towards the collectible toy game.

While the first Terp Crawford was technically a plush pillow, the first toy-named OG Terp Crawford-came in March 2020. The 6-inch tall vinyl sculpture of a humanized weed nug with a joint in his hand and a smile on his face is meant to embody everything Hope, Juice and PTA stand for.

“Our message is to love each other and be happy,” Lord says. “Tread lightly and disrupt nothing.”OG Terp Crawford drops sell out in actual seconds and resell on sites like Stock X for over double their retail price. More than a simple toy, he’s a figure that Talking Terps hopes will evolve into a full-on cartoon character.

“As time goes, the idea for Terp Crawford is for him to be a Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny type figure from our world that can cross over,” Lord says. “There should be no reason one day that Terp Crawford’s not throwing a football in some skit on Monday Night Football.”

That’s not just a high aspiration-the team is currently working with 3 Hearts Entertainment to develop a TV show around him. The goal is for Terp Crawford to go global and for Talking Terps to go meta. With their vast graphic library and club of TT enthusiasts, virtual collectibles like NFTs only make sense (though the team can’t let the terp out of the hat just yet).

“I can see Terp Crawford in Japan, speaking in Japanese on TV,” Lord muses. “Once we take him somewhere else, we could do big sculptures, like at KAWS level, maybe. I think we’ll get a TV show. I can’t speak too much on what we’re working on for the metaverse, but it’s got a lot of components. I can say that we’re building a whole new platform called the meta-forest.”

It’s safe to say there will be a sold-out waitlist to get into that forest.
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Danté Jordan is a freelance writer, video producer, and media consultant specializing in cannabis culture and education. Follow him on Instagram.

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