Ask Jen!

Welcome to Ask Jen, a weekly Q&A with the “career doctor” herself Jennifer Kushell! Every Wednesday, Jen will answer one of your burning career questions so start sending them in!

If you would like to submit a question, please e-mail and she’ll do her best to get to them all. Oh, and don’t forget to register on – Your Success Network and fill out your profile so we can link back to it!


Phanny’s Question: “I have a friend who truly believes that Cambodian cuisine will be the new fad in the restaurant/food industry and I am wondering how to get started on that? I have a cookbook, even though it’s never been officially published. I wrote it and gave it to seven of my best friends as goodbye gift (I was in Tokyo studying abroad and they loved my cooking). I’m doing what your book (Secrets of the Young & Successful) says and I’m researching and finding mentors to help guide me through the way. Could you help guide us and tell us where to go? This friend of mine is very ambitious and reminds me of your characters in your book! Thanks! Phanny”

Jen responds: “Hi Phanny! Thanks so much for letting me know that Secrets has been so helpful to you. I couldn’t be more excited to hear it… or about your exciting new venture!

It sounds like your cookbook was quite a hit with your friends and that’s a great start. I would continue to do more research on your own, moving beyond what you’re hearing from your friend. Start picking up a good cross section of food/culinary/entertainment magazines and checking out some of the hot new food sites online. Pay particular attention to the sections on International Cuisine. If you find any evidence of some real buzz starting, or even if you just find media outlets with the potential to appreciate your product, you have two options. First, and most practically, I’d consider writing to the editors of the most relevant media sources you find and introduce them to Cambodian cuisine, and send them some sample recipes or even a copy of the self published cookbook you created. If you start to get interest in publishing some of your recipes, you’ll know you might be on to something. And if you are in fact going to try to take the next big step and publish your cookbook, you’ll be able to answer the #1 question that any publisher will ask you before making you an offer – “prove to me that you have a market for your book, and that there are distribution channels that will promote it or sell it.” If that last part still sounds too far off, consider self publishing a small run of your cookbooks and promoting them via PR through the media I mentioned above or even placing small ads in relevant publications.

You could also, of course, market your recipes and the book like crazy on social networks (in their food sections), relevant online forums and food blogs. One great place to start is with a fantastic site created by two of our members here on YSN: JenniferIannolo and ReMARKablepalate . They are the creators of the Gilded Fork and the Culinary Podcast Network.

Good luck with it all and definitely keep us up-to-date on all of your progress!