The IACP Cookbook Awards program is widely considered the most reputable in the industry due to its rigorous two-tier judging process and recipe testing.
The Cookbook Awards Committee includes a judging panel for each category (3 judges per category), an Executive Committee consisting of the Chairs and Super Judges that oversee category judges (non-voting), and a non-voting IACP Staff Liaison. Committee members and judges serve without compensation.
Three anonymous judges from around the world independently evaluate all entries in each category. Judges must be leading culinary professionals with demonstrated expertise in their category of participation. Judges must also be IACP members and cannot serve two consecutive years on the general committee.
Each judge scores and ranks all books received in his/her specific category. Books are evaluated across several criteria, including the presentation and writing of recipes where appropriate, editorial context and writing style, design layout, and overall quality, creativity, and excellence. At this stage, judges also nominate books to be considered for the optional Jane Grigson, Design, and Judge’s Choice Awards.
The judges’ scores from first-tier judging are combined to determine the top five books in each category. These five books are then reevaluated against the same criteria and scored and ranked again. For categories that require recipes, at least three recipes are also tested and critiqued by each judge. The scores and the results from recipe testing are used to determine three finalists and a winner in each category.
An Executive Committee comprised of a super judge representative for each of the Cookbook Awards categories selects the winners of the optional Jane Grigson, Design, and Judge’s Choice Awards, taking into consideration the nominations made during first-tier judging. The committee also chooses the Cookbook of the Year from the winners of each category. The Executive Committee reserves the right not to give any of these awards if they decide there is no book worthy of the recognition.
In the spring of each year, IACP members and the general public vote for their favorite book among the finalists in all categories. The winner is announced at the Awards Gala held in conjunction with Annual Conference.