Food Eyeswoon Kitchen:


By Athena Calderone
Photography by Johnny Miller

Two years of my most inspiring, rewarding work is at last being revealed today!

I cannot even begin to express how excited and proud I am to share with you, my core community of swooners, the cover of my cookbook, COOK BEAUTIFUL. I’m also divulging the back-cover image, which YOU chose!

COOK BEAUTIFUL, which will be released with Abrams on October 10th, is where design meets food. It is where culinary tradition marries food styling, where home chefs become experts. The book is now available for pre-order on here. In the coming months, I will roll out an exciting pre-order campaign with a super fun giveaway as a little thank-you for all of your support. If you pre-order now, just save your proof of purchase and stay tuned for more specifics!

My inaugural cookbook promises to deliver my swooniest tricks for elevating the visual presentation of your meals. Each recipe is not only photographed, (because I know I would never make a dish I could not see!), but also offers a visual “swoon tip”. These are little tips I have picked up along the way from the plethora of inspiring chefs, food and prop stylists, photographers, and bloggers I have been so fortunate to cook alongside.

We all eat with our eyes before a single bite touches our lips. Our eyes provide our first sensory experience of a recipe or meal, luring us in. The book is organized by season, as my cooking style relies on Mother Earth and the bounty she delivers us month to month. But while seasonal ingredients, of course, inspire my recipes, seasonality also impacts my life, and all of our lives, well beyond just ingredients. This broader definition of seasonality, encompassing the way we live our life throughout the year, is something I sought to capture in the book.

As the weather changes, so does our local produce, our mood, the flavors we crave, the colors that surround us, and even the way we gather with loved ones. In the summer, the palette is one of soft pinks, blues, and nude hues. In winter the look and feel dramatically shifts to dark, rich, and moody. And guess what? Our cooking methods mirror the season too. Meals are simply grilled in the summer, with just a touch of acid and herbs. On the opposite end of the spectrum, braises and stews that simmer over the stove for hours are hallmarks of winter. The way I live and eat all comes back to the season in my world, and I express this transition visually in COOK BEAUTIFUL. Each chapter tells a different story that is in synch with the recipes.  

I am just bursting with anticipation to share what’s inside the book with you —  it is beyond beautiful and I could never have done it alone. I am indebted to the team of creatives who simply raised the bar of beauty, putting in countless hours to make my dream a reality. Each of you were integral to this process and thank-you does not even come close to the gratitude and tenderness I carry in my heart for each of you, Johnny Miller, Rebecca Jurkevich, Rob Magnotta, Rebecca Bartoshesky, Jenny Comita, Amanda Jane Jones, Camaren Subhiyah, Karen Robinovitz, Nicole Tourtelot, Molly Shuster, Pearl Jones, Cara Nicoletti, Natalie Goel, Jordana Mostel and Jenna Saraco.  

I will close by sharing that for so many years I felt a little lost and unfocused in my creative endeavors. It was not until I found comfort, purpose, and joy in the kitchen that I was really able to gain access to myself. I learned to embrace what I called my “creative schizophrenia”, but more importantly, to find a community of creatives who made me feel whole. They’re my peeps, the ones I had been seeking for so very long. Food really is out greatest common denominator — it is what binds us all. My advice to anyone and everyone is this: Never turn your back on yourself. You CAN be more than one thing! I am living proof that at 35 years old you can find success in a career you never even knew you had inside of you…but secretly, you did.

With love,
(mama, wife, creative, dreamer, interior designer, home cook, recipe developer, entertaining expert, stylist, and now AUTHOR!)

The praise I have received from those I place so high up on a pedestal – my idols, mentors and experts in both the culinary, style and design world – has helped me reflect on this journey. When you are so close to a project for so long, it is hard to gain perspective. You can start to lose sight of your instincts and wonder whether you’re headed in the right direction. The response to COOK BEAUTIFUL has filled me with so much emotion. This entire cookbook process has simply been an accumulation of pinch-me moments!


“Athena’s cooking is as stylish as she is—if only I could dress as good as she cooks.”

—Laura Brown, editor in chief of InStyle

“There’s a reason we all snap photos of our food these days—it’s gorgeous. Or at least it should be. Just follow Athena Calderone, who proves that simple, delicious dishes can look as good as they taste.’

— Adam Rapport, editor in chief of Bon Appétit

“I love how Athena always sees the beauty in food. It’s a treat to have an entire book that reflects her amazing vision—and one that’s filled with so many incredible recipes.”

Kerry Diamond, editorial director of Cherry Bombe

“Athena has the Midas touch: Give her simple ingredients and she will create elegant, memorable meals that are familiar but flawless. She understands the art of cooking beautifully, and the food in her mouthwatering manifesto is truly gold.”

—Daphne Oz, bestselling author, cohost of The Chew

“We’ve all swooned over Athena Calderone’s impeccable style, and now she shares her secrets to making her food—and table—so gorgeous. The inspiring tips in Cook Beautiful will help you create a feast for the eyes, so you can entertain on an entirely new level.” 

—Christine Muhlke, editor at large, Bon Appétit

“I’ve always admired Athena as a friend and visionary. Her balance and focus on ingredients make her so good at what she does, and now they’ve finally come together so perfectly in this book. She sure can cook beautiful!”

Dan Kluger, James Beard Awardnominated chef and owner of Loring Place

“In Cook Beautiful, Athena Calderone unites her twin passions of cooking and styling. Her glorious food takes on a magnificent, almost otherworldly, loveliness through an extraordinary use of color, shape, and texture. After studying every picture, I’m ready to replicate it myself!”

Dana Cowin, journalist and former editor in chief of Food & Wine Magazine

Cook Beautiful is a stunning reminder to look at our plates and market baskets with fresh eyes and an appreciation for the bounty of each season. Athena’s thoughtful kitchen insight and artful approach lure you with every recipe. I dare you to resist her call to get cooking!”

Gail Simmons, food critic, TV host, and author of Bringing It Home 

“This book is the closest thing to dining at Athena’s home, an experience I cherish as it’s always full of laughter, beauty, and incredible food. In Cook Beautiful, Athena thoughtfully guides readers through the seasons and shows how a little effort in entertaining can create truly special memories.”

—Nate Berkus, interior designer, product designer, and bestselling author

“In Cook Beautiful, Athena teaches aspiring home chefs how to prepare meals that are not only beautiful, but also nourishing for the body and soul.”

—Lauren Bush, CEO and founder of FEED 

“Athena’s warmth, curiosity, and beauty are effortlessly translated into everything she creates, making our mouths water and eyes swoon in Cook Beautiful!”

—Carolyn Murphy, supermodel and Shinola creative consultant

“Style and beauty are what Athena brings to anything she does. She is one of these magicians that make you wonder how it’s done, but then she’s also the great friend who will explain to you how to do it. And you’re like ‘I can’t believe it was that simple!’—the nature of inspiration, in other words!”

— Garance Doré, bestselling author and illustrator

 “Athena’s delicate modern take on design shines through all she does and particularly in her culinary efforts.  I love Cook Beautiful — it’s full of unexpected but delicious ingredient profiles and colorful veggie options.

— Hannah Bronfman, creator of HBFIT



Share this Swoon   –  

More Swoon

Food Eyeswoon Kitchen:

Athena’s Memorial Day Menu

Food Eyeswoon Kitchen:

Star-Spangled Berries


Subscribe to our newsletter

Get exclusive access to recipes, promotions, videos, and original content.
We'll never share your information.