My first meeting with Alison Fryer in 1983 at The Cookbook Store was the start of a relationship that has blossomed over the years. There was an immediate bond between us, through our shared Scottish background, a love of all books, haggis and real Scottish shortbread. We had both grown up with that Scottish objectivity (some say stubbornness) that allowed us to battle over issues and still remain friends.
That same stubbornness helped Ms. Fryer, as its manager, turn the store into a major underpinning of the Toronto culinary fabric. And now it is closed.
Memories of The Cookbook Store
The Cookbook Store has been a kind of reference library for me for decades. Alison and her team will definitely be missed in our community. I’m shocked and saddened that she won’t be moving to another location. –Mark McEwan, chef and head judge on Top Chef Canada
When I was a young cook, The Cookbook Store opened my eyes to types of food and chefs from around the world that I had only heard of in kitchen gossip. I remember standing in front of the international section browsing through books too expensive for me to buy, wondering which to save up for. Every major food city needs a culinary book store. The store will be dearly missed and I feel bad for the young cooks who won’t have the opportunity to experience it. –Grant van Gameren, chef/ owner, Bar Isabel
The Cookbook Store outlasted so many independent retail stores because of the quality, consistency and integrity of the staff, and their deep and thorough understanding of their customers. For all those who love food and cooking, what’s sad is there’s now a hole that will never be filled. –David Kent, CEO HarperCollins Canada
More than just a place to buy books, The Cookbook Store was an integral part of the food community for the advice Alison and her team gave and the authors they featured at events. Their enduring legacy will be all of the cookbooks that will continue to occupy special places on our shelves. Cooking is, after all, one of the happiest, most creative and rewarding of do-it-yourself skills. –Bonnie Stern, food columnist and cookbook author