I recall a Michael Klein article about it and what doomed it, and some of them off the top of my head are:
1. Food Network: can get the info year round like what was seen at B&C
2. Explosion of the celebrity Chef and their varied schedules (see #1)
3. It got moved around a lot toward the end and people got confused as to where and when it was
Michale Klein article, Food and Drinq, September 2007:
The Book and the Cook ... FINALLY
By hook or by crook, the Book and the Cook is at last coming together for 2007. Dates are Oct. 22-28. TB&TC is a Philly-grown, annual pairing of local restaurants and national authors. TB&TC has been a victim of its own success, in a way. It was created back in the mid-1980s, when Emeril was probably a fry cook somewhere in Fall River. TB&TC gave needed exposure to chefs and cookbook authors. Now there are cooking shows on every channel, and the authors have been stretched thin. (Except for Emeril, who has seriously packed on the avoirdupois.) While TB&TC traditionally was held in the spring, it began having trouble attracting authors that time of year. Organizers of the 2007 event aimed for the fall, as the holiday book-selling season kicks into gear. Still, '07 participation seems spotty so far. There's no title sponsor, and no marketplace-type fair as in years past. The event list is shaping up and one of the more intriguing ones will bring
Alison Barshak (right) at her restaurant Alison at Blue Bell on Oct. 28. Nathan's most recent cookbook, "The New American Cooking," won a James Beard Award and received the annual Best American Cookbook award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). The dinner price has not yet been set.
The last one I went to was maybe 10 or 12 years ago. It really started to stink. The admission price was high and young kids were full fare like an adult. The vendors charged for samples! They stopped allowing samples of beer and wine even for a charge for "liability" reasons...read: they were too cheap to buy the event licence and insurance. If you ask me it was poor event management that doomed it rather than numbers 1 and 2 above. #3 is part of the poor event management. There still are PLENTY of local vendors that would love to particiate in such a venue and have face to face contact with the public. You cant get that kind of contact watching TV. The real stars were local chefs. I rarely stayed for the celebs like Emeril. The Hot Tamales etc.
The food festivals page for PA on Foodreference.com does not list "Book and the Cook" for this year or last year. It appears that the last (final?) one was in the fall of 2008. I heard that the incessant difficulty was getting the top chef's in because of increased media commitments. Last minute cancellations had also been a problem. It would be a shame not to revive it, if possible.