My Abuela’s Table with Daniella Germain – A Nice Case of Serendipity

by Jenny Butler
Monday 13th June 2011

Today we welcome this weeks Guest Blogger, Daniella Germain! Daniella’s first recipe book, My Abuela’s Table, has just been published and today she is sharing how that all came about. During the rest of the week Daniella will be featuring recipes for Mexican celebrations – YUM! We also have 3 copies of Daniella’s book to give away – leave a comment on any of Daniella’s posts before 10.00pm Thursday to be in the draw to win! – Jenny x

Late last year, I was in my final semester of my Communication Design degree at RMIT. My career was heading toward illustration as I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my working days. However, I chose to do a publication elective as my final major, as I thought I could somehow merge illustration work within a publication subject. Boy, am I glad I took that elective!

On the left is the original book submitted for my course; On the right is the published version!

The brief was to create a 64 page book. Five years prior, my Mum had passed down my Abuela’s (Mexican grandmother) recipes which my Mum had written down as a young girl. I thought this was a perfect opportunity to collate her recipes, and as an illustrator, I decided to illustrate the whole book, food and all.

It was a stroke of luck that my book fell into the hands of Hardie Grant’s MD Julie Pinkham, after she had been asked to judge our final student folios at the end of the year. Julie noticed my book and asked me to come in for a chat with her and one of HG’s food editors. I really didn’t think much of it when they asked to hang on to My Abuela’s Table (my book). I was just over the moon to have been offered some freelance illustration work at the time. However, six weeks later I was offered a book deal for My Abuela’s Table.

It’s been a crazy ride, but here is my book. I hope you enjoy my week of guest blogging where I will be sharing recipes from my book and lessons on Mexican traditions and celebrations – all to do with food of course!

Daniella x

by Jenny Butler
Monday 13th June 2011


  • Anita 5 years ago

    The mole reminds me of fabulous times in Mexico City and many moles.

  • Katherine McAlpine 5 years ago


  • Blue fruit 5 years ago

    Her style of illustration is immediately appealing. It has a sense of optimism as well as nostalgia. And I reckon that this is one of those cookbooks that would inspire one to actually cook, not just gaze.

  • Georgina 5 years ago

    Such a beautiful book!… and I love Mexican food!

  • lewis 5 years ago

    yummy – all those illustrations are making me feel hungry.
    btw love the nail polish colour!

  • Sarah 5 years ago

    When we say hot tamales it means something else…! So I’d love a recipe book that could teach me all about the real Hot Tamale!

  • Justine 5 years ago

    Congratulations Daniella! Such a beautiful book.

  • elizabeth brookes 5 years ago

    simply gorgeous… love this book.. pick pick pick me please!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Allison 5 years ago

    I love reading/hearing stories like this. A series of events over time and in this case generations that leads to the creation of not only something beautiful but something that shares knowledge and tradition with others. Congratulations Daniella! Just love your water colour style.

  • Sarah 5 years ago

    This is such a beautiful book! Congratulations! I’ve had my eye on it since I read about somewhere, maybe on here! I can’t remember! I’d absolutely love a copy!

    I am a third year communication design student and this makes me really excited for my future! If you can do it, just maybe i can do to!

  • Elizabeth Geddes 5 years ago

    Er, gotta have it.

  • Jo 5 years ago

    I would not dare ignore the advice of a chicken .. bring on the bean enchiladas!!

  • Kat 5 years ago

    such a gorgeous book … it caught my in Byron last week…

  • Beth 5 years ago

    what a great story! looks like a very cute book

  • Kelly 5 years ago

    Wow – I wish we had electives like that at my university. This sounds like the ultimate of dream projects for any illustrator – especially give that the subject matter is so personal and special to you. Congratulations.
    I can’t wait to check this out, I adore Mexican food but I have problems with hot peppers, so a book of recipes like this that I can try out seems like a great solution!

  • Raquel 5 years ago

    Felicidades Daniella! Lovely book. I am so excited to see such a beautiful book about Mexican food. I can’t wait to have a copy in my hands, now that is my turn to pass on the recipes to my little daughter. Maybe we will be lucky this time? Well done.

  • Oh that’s amazing! Your book looks absolutely beautiful, and so tempting – I also love Mexican food. Yum!!

  • cindy-lee 5 years ago

    Love the watercolour illustrations + the handed down recipes from your grandma!, congratulations and enjoy the ride, you deserve every bit of success x

  • Lisa 5 years ago

    What a beautiful cook book- love the illustrations!

  • Jess R 5 years ago

    oh what beautiful illustrations, love the watercolour

  • Forgotten Fancies 5 years ago

    What a fantastic story. The illustrations are simply divine, I can’t wait to get my paws on one of these.

  • Clare 5 years ago

    Oh awesome! Will have to check it out. I’ve been all about the Southern cooking for a while, and I was starting to think it was time to cross over the border even further South… I love the chicken suggesting the bean enchiladas. He cracks me up.

  • Stitchybritt 5 years ago

    This is so lovely – I am also writing a book about my grandmother’s traditions. I might have to ask your advice when it’s ready for publishing!

  • Megan 5 years ago

    Your book is so lovely, your illustrations are just so beautiful! Such a nice story! x

  • Daniel 5 years ago

    God bless Mexico!

  • Liz aka Betty Jo 5 years ago

    We are having a culinary love affair with beans and rice at our place. So this beautiful book will be the perfect companion to spice up the relationship!

  • jas 5 years ago

    wow – what a stunning cookbook and I love the story behind it!

  • Jen Henderson 5 years ago

    Congratulations on such a stunning book and thanks for sharing your grandmother’s recipes with the world. So lovely. Thank goodness Julie Pickham broke the mould of commissioning yet another celebrity chef cookbook…!

  • Tanja Ledwich 5 years ago

    A cookbook without photos, how beautiful and fresh. Congratulations to Hardi Grant for recognising emerging talent. This book is definitely on my wish list.

  • Dawn 5 years ago

    I LOVE THIS BOOK! I was at the bookstore the other day and was just flipping through it.. amazing stuff!

  • Anna 5 years ago

    yum yum yum!!

  • jo 5 years ago

    beautiful book daniella…just lost an hour of study time on your blog too!

  • Kathleen 5 years ago

    Congratulations Daniella! Your book is just gorgeous, and your story is one of those heartwarming ones that gives us ‘undiscovered’ creatives a little thrill. I am very much looking forward to your guest posts this week.

  • Chloe Walker 5 years ago

    Yay for random electives! What an exciting story! Your book looks absolutely gorgeous, Daniella – congratulations.

  • Joanna 5 years ago

    I collect cook books and read them like novels. I get bored when my new cookbook doesn’t tell a storey of inspiration and loves.
    We love Mexico, it’s people and street food so much we are heading back to Mexico City at the end of the year to graze the streets for the first few days of our honeymoon…!
    Beautiful book. Congratulations!

  • Anna Di Pietro 5 years ago

    This looks like a really beautiful book. Congratulations!

  • Laura 5 years ago

    Would love to win such a lovely book.


  • Catherine 5 years ago

    What a great story of finding the work you love by accident!
    I love the illustrations – witty and artistic, and the recipes look quite amazing. Just the thing to cheer up a long, cold winter…

  • Kimbalee 5 years ago

    Muchos gracios! To add this gorgeous book to my kitchen would be fantabulous…. :-)

  • Kirsty 5 years ago

    We adore Mexican food in our house and I have a 3 yr old boy who would just love reading this

  • Lisa 5 years ago

    Just stunning and a nice change from the majority of photography based cookbooks! Well done.

  • Frances Victor 5 years ago

    What a unique and gorgeous book. A real testament to illustration!

  • Su 5 years ago

    Wow!! what a great story and a gorgeous looking Mexican cook book. We love cooking and eating Mexican food and will definately be checking this one out.

  • Christina 5 years ago

    What a delightful story! How luck you are Daniella to have such a treasure! I absolutely LOVE your illustrations. It gives the book a very personal and comforting vibe. You wont need luck with such a desirable creation – enjoy the sucess!

  • lou 5 years ago

    Hooray! Congratulations!

  • Row 5 years ago

    Beautiful book.

  • leah 5 years ago

    Your book is so lovely, your illustrations are so beautiful! Just gorgeous!

  • Emma 5 years ago

    What a divine book! And such a great story about how it came to be. Congratulations! I adore Mexican food so would love a copy of the book.

  • Maureen 5 years ago

    Quiero escribir en espanol porque la comida de Mexico es muy rica y se habla en este lingua. Las recetas y las ilustraciones son muy magnificos. Felicidades Daniella.

    This is a huge achievement Daniella, and please excuse my attempt at Spanish.

  • Melissa 5 years ago

    Congratulations! Your book looks so beautiful and like other readers have said, it makes me actually want to cook!

  • Belinda 5 years ago

    can’t wait to try the recipes!

  • Jane Skirrow 5 years ago

    The book looks absolutely beautiful – congratulations. Will add grace and style to everyone’s bookshelf!

  • Louise 5 years ago

    I adore this beautiful book and would love to win a copy! Thank you so much for the giveaway :)

  • Jenna 5 years ago

    Your book is beautiful! Fingers crossed I’m lucky enough to win a copy :)

  • Rebecca W 5 years ago

    How beautiful! Congratulations on your first publication!

  • Tall Rabbit 5 years ago

    What a nice idea to combine your illustration with your mother’s and grandmother’s recipes. That will be a family heirloom!

  • Katrina 5 years ago

    wow – what a beautiful idea and what fantastic illustrations. big congratulations on getting published!

  • Cathg1g2 5 years ago

    Beautiful illustrations and yummy cuisine

  • Gina 5 years ago

    This is a beautiful book that will appeal to new and more experienced cooks. It is wonderful to see something that is truly a family effort published and looking fabulous. Congratulations!

  • brigid 5 years ago

    holy mole i would love this book

  • Kerry 5 years ago

    Oh my, what a fabulous story. The whole presentation is very beautiful and I bet the recipes are great too. What a wonderful achievement for you and what a great history for your family.

  • Annabel 5 years ago

    Looks very lovely, would be fab to own a copy. Love the nails too!x

  • Kirsty 5 years ago

    My fave things all wrapped up in one package – good food and good design.

  • Justine 5 years ago

    I think the food tastes better when its presented along side those gorgeous illustrations. Well done. WOuld love a copy of this book!

  • Penthea M-R 5 years ago

    I’m HUNGRY…! This book looks fabulous..!

  • Madeleine 5 years ago

    Love Mexican food…yum!
    The book looks beautiful too. Congratulations!

  • Rachael 5 years ago

    Beautiful I love the illustrations

  • E-Gene 5 years ago

    Even the illustrated art is making me hungry. Nice book!

  • Liza 5 years ago

    Your book if beautiful, your illustrations are just amazing and I just love reading your blog, very inspiring thankyou xxx

  • Annalisa Giudici 5 years ago

    Mmm – what a tasty offering. Gorgeous illustrations. Well done you!

  • sarah 5 years ago


  • Kate 5 years ago

    this is going to be great fun to cook from – ole!

  • Mary Ann 5 years ago

    This is so inspiring! Daniella’s enthusiasm is contagious and I can’t wait to pass this article on to my daughter who graduated from college 3 weeks ago to show her what all of her hard work can lead to. It would be fun for my daughter and me to cook together from Daniella’s beautiful book.

  • athena 5 years ago

    Congratulations on the lovely cookbook! And thanks for the chance to win it :)

  • Em 5 years ago

    What a fantastic concept. Gorgeous illustrations, delicious recipes and a beautiful story. Congratulations! Looking forward to more on the guest blog this week. x

  • Bernardo Jarrin 5 years ago

    Hhhhmmmm mole!

  • janelle 5 years ago

    Daniella, I love your illustrations. Your abuela would be rapt!

  • Stephanie 5 years ago

    My search is over! I have been looking for a gorgeous mexican cookbook and here it is!

  • Alana 5 years ago

    I’m not surprised they offered you a publishing deal,your beautiful illustrations combined with precious family recipes,seems like a great book idea to me.congratulations-your book looks superb.

  • Anna-Karin Buchan 5 years ago


  • Eleni 5 years ago

    super cute illustrations combined with super tasty recipes – what a combo!! well done.

  • Marie 5 years ago

    what an adoreable book – yes please!!

  • jane 5 years ago

    Beautiful artwork and lovely idea to record the recipies handed down by a family member. I have all my grandmothers and am in the process of doing something similar.

  • badra 5 years ago

    Oh my! Daniella, I have to say I’m super inspired and jealous at the same time. I mean this is super great, I love it. And I’m super jealous because I would love to do this one day. I love cooking and drawing, so to be able to combine both into something so beautiful, I’m just blown away :)

    Any advice on how to make a beautiful illustrated cook book?


  • Emma 5 years ago

    Beautiful illustrations, very inspirational :) Well done!

    I Think I need this book!! Will definitely get myself a copy, one way or another…

  • Sandra 5 years ago

    wow, love your illustrations! they’re so unique!

  • Sarah willmott 5 years ago

    What an inspiration you are – you has inspired me to Lean towards illustration in art instead of just photography – I’m even thinking of combining the two! Thank goodness you did take that boon publishing elective – genius!

  • cathy gallagher 5 years ago

    I just bought this book for a friend. I’d love to own one myself: especially as i haven’t given it yet and i keep looking at it all the time!!!!

  • lauren Wyllie 5 years ago

    illustrations are amazing!

  • Rachael Conroy 5 years ago

    Lovely, lovely, lovely. Love those chooks! Please peck me!! : ) xxxxx

  • Kristen 5 years ago

    This book looks beautiful not only the amazing recipes but the pictures are so cute. I have just started my leap into traditional Mexican cooking and this book looks like a great addition to my collection

  • emily 5 years ago

    Mexican food is my favorite. Mexico is my favorite place. And I have a weakness for illustrated food. lovely lovely

  • ruth hickson 5 years ago

    Lovely book and such delicious sounding recipes

  • katelyn 5 years ago

    what a gorgeous book. makes me wish my grandmother was mexican and not of scottish descent ( there is hardly a market for books featuring porridge and pea soup recipes?)

  • Katchen 5 years ago

    A great acheivement and a stunning book. The whole concept and the illustrations are truely heart warming. Well done Daniella.

  • ricardo 3 years ago

    Daniella, hablas Espanol o no?

You might also like

Cassy Morris
Tuesday 27th October 2015
Jo Hoban
Thursday 29th October 2015
by Georgina Reid
Monday 26th October 2015
by Lucy Feagins
Tuesday 3rd November 2015
by Lucy Feagins
Tuesday 27th October 2015
by Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 28th October 2015
Jad and Hady Choucair
Tuesday 10th November 2015
Jad and Hady Choucair
Tuesday 3rd November 2015
Jad and Hady Choucair
Tuesday 17th November 2015
Jad and Hady Choucair
Tuesday 24th November 2015
by Lucy Feagins
Monday 2nd November 2015
by Lucy Feagins
Friday 6th November 2015