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Author with a winning recipe

Greytown illustrator Giselle Clarkson with a copy of ‘Egg and Spoon’. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

A cookbook with a Wairarapa flavour has been recognised at this year’s New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

‘Egg and Spoon: An Illustrated Cookbook’ won the Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction, impressing judges with its varied and thoughtful recipes accompanied by luscious and often humorous illustrations.

Written by Pipi Cafe owner and chef Alexandra Tylee, and illustrated by Greytown’s Giselle Clarkson, the book was one of five finalists in its category.

It was one of 28 finalists selected overall in the awards, administered by the New Zealand Book Awards Trust.

Convenor of judges Alan Dingley said this year’s awards focused on new talent, with half the category winners also finalists in the Best First Book Award category.

“Having so many first-time winners shows that as New Zealand evolves, authors and publishers are evolving too.”

The finalists entertained over 600 Wellington school children the day before the ceremony, with a varied programme including storytimes, behind-the-book talks, workshops on writing and illustration, lively panel discussions, and live drawing sessions.

Having moved to Greytown only about a year ago, Clarkson had never crossed paths with Tylee, and the first she heard about Pipi was when publisher Gecko Press contacted her about Egg and Spoon.

The publisher gave her some of Tylee’s sample recipes, for which Clarkson sent back some test illustrations.

“I went back, and they said, ‘That’s great, this is going to be perfect’.”

After this initial contact came a gap of almost a year, while Tylee completed her recipes.

Pipi was an iconic pizza stop on Greytown’s Main St until Tylee relocated the cafe to Havelock North.

Some of these recipes were taken directly from the cafe, such as the famous Pipi Pizza.

Clarkson took inspiration from the cafe for the palette of the cookbook – both the cafe and the book were swathed in a warm pink.

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