3 December 2012

An Insatiable Exclusive: An Interview with They Draw and Cook

Fettucine and Fig Pasta by Salli Swindell: The recipe that started it all.

C reated by brother-and-sister duo Nate Padavick and Salli Swindell, They Draw and Cook is an ongoing collection of mouthwatering illustrated recipes by artists from all around the world. On the site, you’ll find a visual feast of fun, entertaining and beautifully drawn artworks bursting with colours and creativity!

What started out as a blog with 8 illustrated recipes in February 2010 quickly escalated into a full-fledged site that now features 3,000 recipes! To date, TDAC has published 3 amazing illustrated recipe books, namely They Draw and Cook, The Colourful Vegetarian and The Best Illustrated Cocktail Recipes, all of which we feature in detail in our TDAC Cookbook Reviews post!

Insatiable recently submitted a Wicked Marshmallow Witches recipe which was featured on their homepage as part of their Halloween collection! We speak to Salli about their inspiring site that has delighted us with its unique winning formula of food and art.

Why illustrate recipes? Have you always been interested in food and cooking?
Our story is two-part. A few years back while on a family vacation Nate was recreating a dish he had in Berlin - Fettuccine with Figs in a Butter Balsamic Sauce. I was at the counter painting the crate of fresh figs. It was an AHA moment for me, illustrating food was so fun!

That following Christmas we decided to send our clients a book of illustrated recipes created by ourselves and 7 other artists. One of the artists kept missing our deadline. The holidays passed and in a moment of impatience Nate said, “I’m putting the 8 recipes we have up on a blog.” In 15 minutes, the blog had been named, designed and launched! We started receiving recipe submissions the very next day! We started with 8 in February 2010 and now feature almost 3,000 with new ones arriving each day!
Which type of food illustrations do you find the most appetizing?
We keep changing our minds! Sometimes we LOVE the funny ones, then an amazing watercolor is submitted and we fall in love with that style, then the next day we love a modern graphic design! Many times we see a new recipe and say, “I can’t wait to make that” or we instantly ping each other to oohhh and ahhhh over it!
How do you work together for TDAC?
Right now we are working in different countries! [Nate is in Berlin, while Salli is in Ohio] Over the years we naturally fell into our respective roles. Nate is more detail oriented and tech savvy while I’m more impulsive. We brainstorm well together and have the same sense of humor. I tend to manage more of the things on They Draw and Cook while he manages more on They Draw and Travel.
Avocado & Egg Toast by So Yeon Kim from Baltimore, MD
How does TDAC help the artist community?
From the very beginning our thought was to give artists some time to shine! Not everyone that submits is a professional and it makes them really happy to have their work online in front of thousands of people. Discovering new food from cultures all over the world through illustration is amazing! Learning more about where people live and travel has opened up our worlds and hopefully others’ as well.

We receive many e-mails from artists saying that they were hired for a particular job because the client saw their work on one of our sites. It does not get any better than that! The fact that schools use TDAC as a platform for class assignments means so much to us.

Our policy is to give 50% of any profits we make on a recipe or map to the artist. Mostly, we think it’s like a big international party with new friends, food and adventures showing up everyday. The energy is contagious! A few months back we started having a “Winning Recipe of the Month” contest with $100.00 going to our favorite pick of the month. [The November 2012 winners are featured in this post.]

Vegetable Soup by MaƂgorzata Lewandowska-Zych from Warsaw Poland

What makes a great illustrated recipe?
We think it’s vital for the recipe to have a personality, which leaves room for lots of exploration and storytelling. Artists have a way of infusing the illustrations with emotion which really helps bring the recipe to life. I suppose the best illustrated recipes make you smile for one reason or another.

It’s vital for the recipe to have a personality, which leaves room for lots of exploration and storytelling.
What can we expect from TDAC in the near future?
We have many conversations going on with folks in a variety of industries. Our most recent project is a collaboration with an online shopping site to sell tote bags with recipes on them. We would like to be able to host several more contests. Contests are super fun and bring so much energy to the site. Right now we are completely enjoying the submissions we are receiving from students in design classes at various colleges (Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD), Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).

Star-Spangled Trifle by Stacey Porter from Petersburg, Alaska

For more TDAC goodness

1 comment:

  1. Thanks insatiable!!! We hope to see more recipes from you and maybe a map also ; )