On Sunday evening in NYC, IACP handed out our annual IACP Awards for Cookbooks, Digital Media, Food Photography, and Food Writing. This is our chance to honor excellence in culinary communications, and nothing makes us more gratified than to see folks come up on stage to claim their award.
Our CEO Martha Holmberg co-authored the book “Six Seasons” with chef Joshua McFadden; the book won two awards, one in the General Category and one for Cookbook of the Year. Several industry members have raised concerns that this is a conflict of interest and an example of self-dealing.
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. Please note that Artisan, the book’s publisher, is not at fault in any way in this situation; the book was submitted in good faith and according to our rules at the time.
We believe the process by which books are judged and scored is sound and impartial. It is based on numerical scoring by independent judges that are collected and tabulated by a third-party online platform called Submittable. The book received the top scores. There is currently no policy that excludes IACP staff or board members from submitting to our awards.
Our number one priority now is maintaining the integrity of our awards and respect for IACP. We’re grateful that so many people care so passionately about the IACP Cookbook Awards and questioned our judgment. Criticism is what makes any project stronger, and we’re looking forward to reviewing and strengthening our policies and procedures for the future.
We will be creating a new policy about ineligibility of staff and board; we don’t have the language for that policy yet but will share it when we do. We also plan to create an advisory council made up of industry leaders. We’ll publish the names of the council and the findings along with full policy language.
Please feel free to contact us with more questions or concerns. Our aim is open and honest conversations and full transparency.
Chair of IACP Board of Directors