Smyth-Sewn Dish Cookbook

Before our age of 24/7 food shows, cooking used to be such a personal affair. It’s a skill you’d pick up from a family member or two, honing and refining it until you were finally deemed worthy of inheriting grandma’s recipe book. Inside you found dog-eared pages, delightful scents from meals long past, and handwritten notes from grandma herself about what worked, what didn’t, and why a particular dish meant so much to her.

It’s this same sense of cookbook as heirloom that Sydney’s Digitalpress reproduces so beautifully in “Dish,” a volume featuring 86 recipes from 44 of Australia’s finest chefs. All profits from the sale of both the $75 standard version and $100 limited edition (signed by a number of the chefs featured) go to the Starlight Children’s Foundation, which brightens the lives of seriously ill children and their families in Australia through hospital programs and experiences.

Dish Cookbook - PaperSpecs

Designed by co-publisher and creator Kelly Shield – a former chef turned graphic designer and avid cookbook collector – “Dish” is not only a great collection of recipes (rosewater milk pudding with watermelon granita, anyone?), but an impressive example of the quality that can be achieved with digital printing today.

The text pages were digitally printed CMYK (plus blue on the special 5th unit to closely match the required Pantone blue) on Sovereign Offset 120 gsm, a smooth white uncoated stock, using a Kodak NEXPRESS, explains Digitalpress Owner Theo Pettaras. These were then Smyth sewn with blue thread to match the title on the cover before being case bound into the covers.

“The cover was digitally printed with a Tuffkote matte celloglaze as it provides a more robust finish and it’s hard to scratch, [plus] it avoids marking, particularly when you’re in the kitchen,” says Theo. “Then a high-build spot UV was applied to give the cover some texture and further visual interest.”

As you can see, that “visual interest” is nothing short of recreating a dinner plate right on the cover, complete with border decorations and a couple of authentic-looking cracks, all against another textured background entirely.

Dish Cookbook - PaperSpecs

The exposed binding further enhances the homemade feel, suggesting that this is indeed a piece to be treasured. The blue thread matches both the title on the cover as well as that other fantastic detail: the die-cut and white-foil-stamped slipcase made from Arjowiggins Curious Matter paper. (As the paper nerds among us will recall, Curious Matter is made from potato starch – fitting for a cookbook, don’t you think?)

Cracking open “Dish” you’ll not only find a bevy of new recipes inside, you’ll also discover personal comments by the chefs themselves, rendered in a handwriting typeface, concerning their experiences with food and cooking – a nice little personal touch.

This might not be grandma’s recipe book handed down through the generations, but its unique design and conversation-starting cover are enough to make this volume worthy of passing down to your own children and grandchildren.

Binding: The Bindery
Foil Stamping: Goldcraft Embossing
Die Cut: Wengers Cutting Formes
Raised Spot UV: Horizon Graphics

Get the Look!

Smyth-sewn binding turned out to be a good fit for these pieces, but there are so many other binding options available to you today. You’ll discover 15 of those in our newly revised and expanded “Binding Cheat Sheet: The Ultimate Guide to Binding!”

Inside you’ll discover:

  • A handy overview of all your binding options, complete with diagrams, page counts and relative costs
  • Detailed explanations of how each technique is applied
  • Sumptuous photographic examples
  • Tips on how to “break the rules” of each technique to achieve a special look all your own

and more!

So how do you get your hands on our new Binding Cheat Sheet? Simply download it for yourself –it’s free! 








Project Details

Title Dish Cookbook Design Kelly Shield Print Digitalpress Paper Text: Sovereign Offset 120 gsm;
Slipcase: Arjowiggins Curious Matter

Production Details

Production Time 9 months Finishing and Binding Binding, foil stamp, diecut, raised spot UV


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