The Ekus Group’s founder, Lisa Ekus, has recently achieved a Guinness Book of World Records by amassing 4,239 titles for the largest collection of personal cookbooks in the world.
Ekus has built a two-story, 18×36 addition in her 250-year-old renovated farmhouse in Hatfield, MA, which serves as a dedicated space for her cookbooks. The room features floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, and it took her three years to design and construct.
“This room feeds my soul”, says Ekus. “It is a living, breathing collection of food and culture, and the people who cook it. I love nothing more than to hold a book in my hands, learn about a cuisine and take that inspiration into the kitchen to cook!”
Lisa has curated an extensive collection of over 6,000 cookbooks, including books of food writings, self-published titles, spiral-bound regional books, and culinary ephemera. The library serves as a reference resource for Lisa’s clients and authors and as a hospitality space for local community events. Lisa’s friends and family often gather in this special room, which contains books from many renowned chefs and cookbook authors, including Rose Levy Beranbaum, Raghavan Iyer, David Joachim, Kevin Gillespie, Marcella Hazan, Patricia Wells, Nava Atlas, Todd Richards, Irena Chalmers, Anne Willan, Susanna Foo, Ana Sortun, and Padma Lakshmi, among others.
Over the years, Lisa has welcomed chefs and cookbook authors from all over the world to her kitchen and table. She has fond memories of cooking a ten-course Chinese meal for Julia Child in the 80s and has hosted many other notable figures in the culinary world, including Emeril Lagasse, Charlie Trotter, Lynne Rossetto Kasper, and Fusion chef Norman Van Aken.
“As I look around the library,” Lisa reflects, “I see the people that I have worked with and remember the moments of creativity, effort, and passion that went into the development of each book. I have touched, known, worked with, represented, cooked with or for, at least three quarters of those living (and not) on my shelves. These past 40 plus years, Julia Child, Emeril Lagasse, and Charlie Trotter have graced my kitchen, my dining room table and explored my library. I have hosted Lynne Rossetto Kasper, former host of NPR’s Splendid Table fame and taught Fusion chef Norman Van Aken how to cook on camera. I’ve made my mother’s famous brisket for Chef Crystal Wahpepah, fired up the grill in my backyard with Meathead (Goldwyn) and pressed dumplings with Taiwanese American author Frankie Gaw. Sandra Gutierrez, Toni Tipton-Martin, Ronni Lundy and I plotted out new cookbook ideas together over a weekend pajama and bourbon party. All these treasured friends are family to me, and their sage advice have enriched my life and my cooking skills.”
Following her retirement, Ekus’s oldest daughter and business partner, Sally Ekus, will now take the lead at The Ekus Group, ensuring that the company maintains its high standards of innovation and expertise.
“I have been immersed in this industry since I was a child,” comments Sally, “and it is my great honor to carry forward Lisa’s legacy by leading our agency with a continued commitment to fierce enthusiasm for our clients, our colleagues, and our community. My Moss (Mom/Boss) loves to say, ‘We make dreams come true!’ and I intend to keep making that very thing happen.”
In addition, The Ekus Group is celebrating its 41st anniversary and is a sponsor of Club Coupe du Monde Team USA.