Sheri Castle
Research, Recipe Development, and Testing








Sheri Castle

I am a writer, editor, recipe developer, recipe tester, food stylist, cookbook consultant, storyteller, and public speaker. I've been in this business long enough to have deep and valuable experience, but not so long that I've lost my passion for my profession. I'm often told that I'm very funny.

I am from the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, but now live near Chapel Hill, NC. I have an amazing daughter named Lily, a spoiled rotten dog named Domino, and a rather bitey but sweet cat named Thimble.

I'm fueled by mountains, cool weather, farmers' markets, excellent bourbon, and memorable stories.

Here are some of my recipe testing and development projects.

Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time

Soul Food

Adrian Miller
UNC Press, August 2013
Winner of a 2014 James Beard Foundation Book Award

Adrian testifies: "Sheri Castle is the real deal (or is a recipe tester extraordinaire)! Her alchemy with adapting historic recipes for the modern kitchen surely helped make my book on the history of soul food beloved by readers and a 2014 James Beard Foundation Book Award nominee. No matter what the cuisine and how hazy the description, I have sheer confidence that Sheri will figure out how to make a recipe work and make it delicious."

Eat Drink Delta: A Hungry Traveler's Journey through the Soul of the South

Eat Drink Delta

Susan Puckett
University of Georgia Press, January 2013

In the foreword, Susan said, "Sheri Castle, a cookbook author and exemplary cooking teacher well versed in Southern cuisine, fine-tuned my recipes."

The Local Palate

The Local Palate

In a 2013 issue of Freelance Success Newsletter, Allston McCrady, Managing Editor of The Local Palate, talked about what they look for in a freelance writer:

"The food- and recipe-focused features must be both Southern and seasonal. Sheri Castle pitched us the Field Pea piece. She has a strong track record as a recipe tester and cookbook writer. She was highly recommended to us by a few chefs we trust. So that was a no-brainer. She's amazing to work with. She traveled to Charleston, did all the prep work, all the cooking. We just had to make it look good."

Mac & Cheese, Please:
50 Super Cheesy Recipes

Mac & Cheese, Please

Laura Werlin
Andrews McMeel, December 2012

I was the recipe tester for this book. In the acknowledgements, Laura says, "Were it not for cookbook author, recipe-tester, and North Carolina funny gene carrier Sheri Castle, the recipes in this book would be good—just not great. She took my recipes and, as always, applied her expertise, spectacular palate (and those of her daughter, Lily, and husband, Doug Tidwell) and gave me essential feedback."

The Foothills Cuisine of Blackberry Farm: Recipes and Wisdom from Our Artisans, Chefs, and Smoky Mountain Ancestors

The Foothills Cuisine of Blackberry Farm

Sam Beall
Clarkson Potter, October 2012

I worked with the staff of Blackberry Farm to develop content for this book. In the acknowledgements, Sam says, "...a beautiful book came together because of the impressive editorial talents of Marah Stets, Sheri Castle, and Aliza Fogelson."

Grilled Cheese, Please!
50 Scrumptiously Cheesy Recipes

Laura Werlin's Cheese Essentials

Laura Werlin
Andrews McMeel, 2011

I tested all of the recipes in this book. In the foreword, Laura says, "I shudder to think where I would have been without my amazing recipe tester, Sheri Castle, who brought these recipes from good to great thanks to her dedication and extreme competence."

The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook

Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook

Edited by Sara Roahen and John T. Edge
University of Georgia Press, 2010

As a coauthor of the book, I tested and edited all of the recipes. The book has gotten some great reviews and shout-outs in a number of places, including Garden & Gun and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The SFA website has more information about the book. It's available through your favorite bookseller.

The SFA Community Cookbook won a Gourmand award as one of the world's best cookbooks for 2010. See the Gourmand International website for the complete list of winners. The book was also a finalist for the IACP 2011 Cookbook Awards.

The Blackberry Farm Cookbook:
Four Seasons of Great Food and the Good Life

Blackberry Farm Cookbook

Sam Beall
Clarkson Potter, 2009

I helped with the recipe testing and development for this cookbook.

Laura Werlin's Cheese Essentials:
An Insider's Guide to Buying and Serving Cheese

Laura Werlin's Cheese Essentials

Laura Werlin
Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2007
Nominated for a 2008 James Beard Award

In the foreword, Laura said, "I shudder to think what the recipes in this book would have been without phenomenal cook and de facto Southern humorist Sheri Castle, who enthusiastically tested each recipe and weighed in with experience, grace, the aforementioned humor, and essential tips. Thank you, Sheri."

Seasoned in the South:
Recipes from Crook's Corner and from Home

Seasoned in the South

Bill Smith, Jr.
Algonquin Books, a division of Workman, 2005, reissued with new chapters in 2006

Bill says, "I don't know how many times, when reading a cook book, I've thought to myself, 'This isn't going to work.' A lot of the time I'm right. I'm happy to report that all the recipes in Seasoned in the South do work. Countless people have gone out of their way to tell me since its publication last fall. Sheri did great work. She is clear and quick. And clever—ask her about my grandmother's candy recipes."

In an interview with Food and Wine in June, 2006, Bill said:

I found this woman who tests the recipes for me. I don't know what I would have done without her. And she told me, "You chefs don't know anything about writing recipes. I do this all the time and you think you know how much you use, but you never pay attention," and all this other stuff. I'd get these hilarious e-mails and phone calls from her saying, "This [recipe] you said made six made sixty. Do you want me to fix this?" Or she'd say, "Did you want this to be really runny?" And I'd say, "No, I don't want it to be runny." And she'd say, "Well, it is. I think I know why. Do you want me to fix it?" "Yes, thank you."

Other Cookbooks

Fresh Every Day:
More Great Recipes from Foster's Market

Sara Foster with Carolynn Carreno
Clarkson Potter, 2005

The Foster's Market Cookbook

Sara Foster with Sarah Belk King
Random House, 2002

Sara says in her acknowledgements, "Thanks to Sheri Castle for testing recipes in a relentless pursuit of perfection and deliciousness."

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