In spite of having no bookstore experience, Esther Dairiam is opening a bookstore dedicated entirely to cookbooks this April. Located on Halstead Drive in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago, Read and Eat will be housed in building the used to be an ice cream shop.
A native of Malaysia, Esther stated in an interview with Publishers Weekly that she hopes the bookstore “will provide customers “with culinary-related experiences through carefully selected local and imported food-themed books, events and demonstrations.”
The store will be called Read and Eat, and will feature not only a myriad of cookbooks, by books featuring food and travel, food history, food science, reference books on cooking and even fiction tomes with culinary themes. The store will feature a kitchen where cookbook authors can demonstrate as well as sign books. There will also be tastings, hosted meals, food related book clubs and cooking lessons.
The inspiration for Read and Eat come to her after a “culinary tour of France led by Madelaine Bullwinkle, who is the chef at the Alliance Francaise in Chicago.”
She is quite optimistic about the store saying; “I know that independents are becoming more prevalent these days,” she says, “And especially with cookbooks, customers want to come in and look at what’s out there; they’re more hands on.”