By Nicole Brodzik
When she first told her parents she was starting work on her cook book, “Lake Minnetonka Eats”, Tiffany Winter’s parents told her it was a waste of her time. Now, though, Bill and Mary Winter are fully supportive of their daughter’s project, especially after it was recently named the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Bronze Award for Best Midwest for nonfiction.
The book is a compilation of recipes from 25 restaurants on and near Lake Minnetonka and is filled with photos taken by Excelsior’s Al Whitaker.
It’s more than just a cook book though, says Winter. It introduces the food landscape across the Lake Minnetonka region.
“Photography was a main focus, and so was telling the stories and lives of these restaurants,” she said. “Most people are buying these as gifts or tabletop books to really show off the lifestyle here on the lake.”
Winter said that though her parents were initially wary of the project, since its publication, they’ve become her cheerleaders.
“It’s something we laugh about now,” Winter said. “They’re my number one fans really. When I found out about the award, they were both just excited. It was such a bright spot to celebrate as a family.”
She was surprised to hear she had won the award when she got the call back in May — mostly because she’d forgotten about entering the contest in the first place. With the deadline for the award application being due in October 2015, Winter said she was “completely shocked” to hear that she earned the recognition.
Winter’s mother accompanied her to the awards ceremony in Chicago, where the pair met authors from all over the world.
“It wasn’t until then that I realized how big of a deal this was,” Winter said. “There were so many female authors there, it was an honor to be part of that group and show that this isn’t just a male-dominated field.”
Moving forward, Winter has many events planned to expand the “Lake Minnetonka Eats” brand, including new books and a cruise around Lake Minnetonka that will sail from Excelsior on July 18. The cruise will feature food from restaurants featured in the book as well as a specialized cocktail menu. Furthermore, books will be available for purchase and signing by Winter.
Winter said she hopes the Lake Minnetonka community will continue to support the book, and its featured restaurants.
“It’s crazy, out of the blue, how many people write me letters about the book,” she said. “That’s the fun part: hearing who they gave it to or what they did with it.”
And readers aren’t the only ones excited about “Lake Minnetonka Eats”. The restaurants who shared their recipes with Winter have also shared with her their excitement over how much business it has promoted.
“I hear from restaurants all the time saying they’ve gotten more customers since the book’s release,” Winter said.
The Mound native said that she’s already thinking about her next projects. She noted that they will likely be based somewhere other than the lake in hopes of attracting a new group of readers and highlighting new areas.
But, her writing endeavors won’t keep her away for long.
“I’ve been kicking around some ideas,” she said. “I’ll definitely be back to Lake Minnetonka.”