Food News

Portland Cookbook Wins—and Promptly Loses—Coveted Award amid Policy Scandal

Martha Holmberg, local cookbook author and CEO of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, is in hot water over her Six Seasons win.

By Benjamin Tepler March 5, 2018

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Onions three ways with nduja on grilled bread, from Six Seasons

Six Seasons, last year’s hyper-seasonal cookbook from Ava Gene’s chef Joshua McFadden and Portland food writing veteran Martha Holmberg, is certainly worthy of an IACP award. Here’s what PoMo food critic Karen Brooks said about it in her review: “McFadden looks beyond the usual staples and crutches, heaping fresh spring peas over toast and plopping a ‘salad’ of chopped walnuts and raisins over soup. It’s raw food without a hint of dogma.” 

But Martha Holmberg is also CEO of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (and former publisher of Fine Cooking, and the former editor of the Oregonian’s Food Day and Mix Magazine). When Six Seasons took home the award for both the general category and cookbook of the year at the 40th annual award ceremony for the IACP in New York City, there was serious backlash. (Important side note: books are judged and scored by an independent panel, and tallied by a third-party platform.)

In response, IACP revoked the Six Seasons awards and is issuing a new policy. From an official IACP statement: “We’re extremely concerned by what we see now as an appearance of impropriety, and we are taking steps to address this. We regret the shadow it has cast on our awards, the book, and IACP itself. We are so sorry that we let this happen and apologize to all for our lapse in judgment. We are therefore removing the Best Cookbook Award in our General Category and Cookbook of the Year from the book.”

You can read the full statement here.

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