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One Year After Publishing: Upper Valley Baker Wins Prestigious Writing Award

Dec 20, 2018 07:03PM ● By Kevin
Last October, Vermont resident and head baker at Norwich’s own King Arthur Flour, Martin Phillip, published his book, Breaking Bread: A Baker’s Journey Home in 75 Recipes. This past September, almost one year from publishing the “moving meditation on craft and love, and an intimate portrait of baking and our communion with food,” as his website describes it, Phillip was awarded the 2018 Vermont Book Award.

Phillip was one of seven finalists in the running for the award. He stood amongst good company, alongside poets, nonfiction authors, and children’s book authors, alike. It was the fourth book to win the award since its inception. The ceremony was held at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier. As a part of his winnings, Phillip received $5,000 and a marble and mahogany sculpture of a book by Montpelier artist Sean Hunter Williams, according to an article by Valley News correspondent Nicola Smith.

As his website describes him, Phillip is “a baker, author, and banjoist.” His book, which was published by HarperCollins, was also recognized as the best cookbook of 2018 by the New York Book Industry Guild and Grand Prize at the New England Book Festival. Although Phillip lives in Vermont with his wife and three children, he is originally a native of the Arkansas Ozarks.

In addition to the awards, Phillip and his book were praised for his work by Jodi Picoult on Good Morning America, featured in the Boston Glob, and labeled as a staff pick by Powell’s City of Books.

Phillip “has traveled internationally to bring baking education and his love of craft to ex-convicts, underserved populations, and recently-landed immigrants,” his website says. “He is a MacDowell Fellow and a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory.”

Yearning for creative connection, his website continues, Philip traded his finance career in New York City for an entry-level baker position at King Arthur Flour in rural Vermont. He’s described as a true Renaissance man, having sung opera and played banjo, in addition to his passion for baking.

“Through [75] original recipes and life stories told with incandescent prose, he shares not only the secrets to creating loaves of unparalleled beauty and flavor but the secrets to a good life,” the website says of the book. “Philip gently guides novice bakers and offers recipes and techniques for the most advanced levels. He also includes a substantial technical section covering the bread-making process, tools, and ingredients.”

The book has received positive praise, holding a 5-star rating on Amazon and 4.5 stars on Goodreads. It sells for $9.99 as an ebook and up to $35 as a hardcover.

“We're proud to offer this cookbook, a true labor of love from King Arthur Flour's very own head baker, the exceptionally talented Martin Philip,” the King Arthur Flour website says. “With guidance and clever tips for bakers of all levels, this is a must-have tome for anyone's kitchen. With every page, you'll fall more in love with baking, and be inspired to live life to the very fullest (and most delicious).”

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