Sassy Southern Cooking with a French Twist

Cracking the Cookbook Code. Writing, Cooking, Marketing, Photography + Wellness Retreat

About Cracking the Cookbook Code

Workshop Schedule

About Holly Herrick

About Beckie Carrico Hemmerling

Enroll Now

Writing, Cooking, Marketing, Photography + Wellness Retreat
March 29 – April 1, 2019


Have you ever dreamed of writing and publishing a cookbook?

Or, are you a blogger and food writer, striving to be improve your writing and recipe development and organization? Do you have a cookbook idea that you’re dying to publish? Do you desire to unite your heart and mind for a few days in a beautiful, relaxing setting with like-minded souls, eating delicious food and having a wonderful time, peaceful sights and sounds of the Atlantic Ocean within toes’ reach?

The time has come! I’ll be joining you and my friend, chef, blogger and food photographer Beckie Carrico Hemmerling March 29 – April 1, 2019, at a luxury beach house, aptly called The Folly Peach, an enchanting, rambling, comfortable beach bungalow situated on historic and bohemian Folly Beach, just steps from the ocean and fifteen minutes from historic downtown. There, we will settle into a four-day feast of learning, living, and enjoying delicious food and enchanting Lowcountry sunsets.

Our workshop’s goal

Our goal is to feed you well using our mutual talents and focus on cooking simply from seasonal and local produce, while teaching you everything it takes to successfully launch a cookbook. From a hands-on intensive workshop on writing recipes that work and compelling forwards, to classes on finding your writing style and voice, finding inspiration and topic, how to write a compelling, proposal that will sell, how to find the right publisher and/or agent, and discerning traditional or self-publishing routes, Holly will be right be your side.

Meanwhile, Beckie will share her wealth of knowledge on building a personal platform through blogging, social media, how to shoot excellent food photography using natural light, and a strong emphasis on blog content, tracking, analytics and more to help you build the best platform audience to attract a publisher and contract for your cookbook.

Together, we can navigate you through the expectations and realities of your journey from cookbook dream to cookbook reality, feeding your body and spirit along the way with delicious meals in a relaxed and peaceful setting on the edge of beautiful Charleston, SC, just as her fragrant petals and warming airs are starting to open for her celebrated spring season.

What’s included in the retreat?

The hands-on, highly personalized retreat includes three nights and 3 days lodging, all meals (3 dinners, 2 lunches, and 3 breakfasts) using locally sourced produce, prepared by Beckie and I from our recipe collections or daily inspiration. Lowcountry Shrimp & Grits, Braised Lamb or Beef with Mint and Almond Pesto, Chicken Paillard, Tomato Bisque, Pork Shoulder, Sage and Apple Ragout, Coconut Milk Chai Pudding, Bananas Foster Sundaes – are all possibilities that we can tailor according to individual needs and preferences.

Scroll through the photos of a few of the tasty dishes we may serve.

Nourishing breakfast at the Cracking the Cookbook Code
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All instruction is in English. Participants are supplied with a signed copy of Holly’s latest, best-selling cookbook, The New Charleston Chef’s Table Cookbook, all instruction materials, one-hour personal consultations with Beckie and I, and a post-retreat follow-up personalized phone consultation up to one year of the conclusion of the retreat.

The retreat is limited to eight participants (plus Beckie and I) and begins with a welcome wine and cheese meet and greet, relaxing private time beach walk, and dinner around the massive kitchen-side, fireside table on Friday night and ends with a sunrise morning stroll and stretch, breakfast, and best of prize award presentation on Monday morning.

Here’s more details on what you can expect:

Workshop Schedule


Check in at 4 p.m. Free time and beach walk. “Tell Us Who You Are” Wine and Cheese reception followed by a three-course dinner.


9:00 a.m.

Hot Breakfast Buffet

10:30 a.m.

Holly Herrick teaching

Holly will discuss how to write recipe forwards and recipes so that they are compelling, enticing, and practical for your readers to re-create joyfully and deliciously at home. She will follow with a cooking demonstration of a soup from one of her cookbooks (orally detailing method and quantities). Students will be given an opportunity to write the recipes as they experienced them for “their” readers. Holly will review each recipe and offer detailed advice on how they can be improved.


1:00 p.m.

Three-course lunch at The Folly Peach

2:30 p.m.

Beckie gives photography workshop in The Peach’s beautifully lit “crow’s nest” featuring use of natural light, props, camera, food styling. Talking points include DSLR, ISO, F-stops, and Aperture, commonly used edits and photography organization.

4:00 p.m.

Afternoon downtown tour led by Holly, a 20-year resident of Charleston, with general and culinary (especially seafood, rice, grits, African) history emphasis.

7:00 p.m.

Three-course dinner at The Folly Peach


9 a.m.

Hot breakfast buffet at The Folly Peach

10:00 a.m.

Holly discusses in-depth details on writing/marketing/ and selling a cookbook and general food writing essays/articles/blog posts. Talking points include finding your voice/tone/style, researching and finding publishers and agents, how to maximize marketing platforms from blogs to social media, negotiating contracts, self-publishing vs. traditional publishing, and how to make it a positive and profitable experience, from start to finish.

12:30 p.m.

Three-course lunch at The Folly Peach

1:30 p.m.

Beckie provides detailed blogging seminar and Q/A. Talking points include content, SEO’s, keywords, rich snippets, seasonality, staying ahead of trends, tracking, analytics, WordPress, finding your niche/brand, nutritional content, and how to build the best platform and audience to attract a publisher, monetization, and self-branding/awareness.

3:00 p.m.

Holly and Beckie meet one-on-one with each participant for individual consultations, alternating between cookbooks and blogging/photography questions/answers.

6:00 p.m.

Wellness beach stroll and gentle yoga with Beckie.

7:30 p.m.

Three-course dinner at The Folly Peach


7:00 a.m.

Morning stroll and stretch with Beckie (optional)

9:00 a.m.

Hot breakfast buffet at The Folly Peach and diploma presentation of prizes (funniest, most original recipes, etc.) and signed copy of Holly’s latest cookbook, The New Charleston Chef’s Table.

11:00 a.m.


About Holly Herrick

Holly Herrick is a cookbook author and chefA resident of Charleston since 2000, Holly holds Le Grande Diplome in Cuisine and Pastry from Le Cordon Bleu, Paris and an honors BA in Journalism from Boston College. She has written extensively as a journalist, restaurant critic, food and travel writer, blogger, publicist, and is the author of nine cookbooks: The New Charleston Chef’s Table (2018), Mashed (2016), The French Cook – Soups & Stews (2014), The French Cook – Cream Puffs & Eclairs (2013), The French Cook – Sauces (2013), Tart Love – Sassy, Savory and Sweet (2011), The Food Lover’s Guide to Charleston and Savannah (2010), The Charleston Chef’s Table Cookbook (2009), The Southern Farmers Market Cookbook (2009)

Click to read more about Holly.

Holly has been published in national and regional publications including Southern Living, Bon Appetit, Charleston Magazine, Gourmet, Sea Island Magazine, and wrote press releases for many prominent PR firms, locally and nationally. She has taught cooking at professional schools/events; public speaker on cooking, life, France, publishing and more at myriad public events/venues and in her own kitchen.

She is the creator of the popular blog and website covering Charleston restaurant news, recipes, trends, cooking ( and the recipient of multiple writing awards, including the American Association of Food Journalists, Inc. 2006 First Place National Award for Best Newspaper Series, Special Sections/Projects for 150,000 and under circulation. Received SCPA’s 2004 First Place Award for Best Special Section.

Holly is a passionate teacher and loves to help people learn how to become better writers and better cooks, having fun along the way.

About Beckie Carrico Hemmerling

BECKIE CARRICO HEMMERLINGBeckie is an executive chef, personal chef, recipe developer, food photographer, blogger, entrepreneur and the creator of  In her words:

“I love food and glorify it sometimes but also think of it on a basic level of providing strength & nourishment.  Cooking has helped me *try* to figure out life, not just my own, but also other peoples.  I have cooked through many joys / sorrows and cooking has always been a meditative place through these highs & lows.  As a professional cook, I have been a “food therapist” to each one of my clients.  My clients keep me on my toes and contribute to my personal & professional growth more than words can say.

I started Eat Simple Food to re-spark my interest in & understand food at a more basic level, to refine techniques for the home cook, and to be an advocate for clean, healthy, and organic food. I make a living as a personal chef and food blogger and through freelance work as a recipe developer & food photographer, and as a consultant for food based products & companies

I like simple food, real ingredients, tasty combinations. Clean ingredients that are grown without hormones, antibiotics, and GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), supporting the local economy and local farmers, fishers, ranchers, etc. Sustainable food- good for your body, good for the animals, and good for the environment.”


Fees and Enrollment

Class size is limited to eight students and includes all meals, materials, snacks, beverages, lodging, cookbooks, instruction and consultations previously described.

It does not include transportation to Charleston or from the airport or other destinations to The Folly Peach, which is an easy 15-minute drive or Uber/Lyft/taxi ride from downtown and the Charleston airport.

The Folly Peach was selected for several reasons, including its airy spaciousness, comfort, ample nooks and crannies for privacy, reading, study, and easy access to beautiful Folly Beach. The house includes four bedrooms, two of them with two beautifully appointed, comfortable queen beds (privacy sensitive shared baths), and two of them with beautifully appointed single king beds and private baths.

  • $1,500.00 (USD) per person with lodging in shared bedrooms (2 queen beds, shared bath)
  • $1,900.00 (USD) per person private room occupancy (1 king bed, private bath)

Reduced rates are available for a second guest/friend if you desire to share a room with a friend, partner or if you (or a friend) are interested in coming along, but not participating in the training part of the program. Rather, to eat some delicious food, laugh a lot, and sleep well for a little vacation time.

Please email Holly for the rates or with any questions on enrollment or in general.

Terms and Conditions

DEPOSIT: A nonrefundable deposit of $1,000 per person is required to confirm enrollment in the workshop.

FINAL PAYMENT: The final payment is due on or before February 25, 2019. If the balance is not paid on time, you could lose your reservation or deposit.

Don’t worry! We will send out reminders for pending final payments.


The class deposit is a commitment by Holly and Beckie to hold your place in the class, and a commitment by you to participate. The deposit should be considered nonrefundable. Life happens, so if you present good and valid reasons, we will consider a refund of the deposit if you cancel no later than February 25, 2019 and we are able to find another student to fill your place. All refunds are subject to a $150 service charge per student to cover bank fees and processing costs.

In the event that “Cracking the Cookbook Code” should cancel for any reason, other than “an act of God,” all fees, including deposits, will be fully refunded. The costs of any travel or housing arrangements (other than The Folly Peach) you have made in planning your attendance in “Cracking the Cookbook Code,” will not be reimbursed. In the event of an “act of God,” another class date will be offered.

This class is designed for adults. Smoking is not permitted in The Folly Peach.


To enroll, please click the button below to enter your registration and credit card information to pay your $1,000 deposit for the workshop.

Feel free to pay by check made out to Holly Herrick and mail to:

Holly Herrick

c/o “Cracking the Cookbook Code”

631 Beaten Path

Charleston, SC

Remember to respect the payment deadlines, please. Again, we will send out several reminders to your email address.

Please Tell Us About You

  • Do you have any food allergies or foods you do not like or feel comfortable eating?
  • Do you have any medical concerns we need to be aware of?
  • What are you most interested in learning at this workshop?
  • Do you mind providing a brief description (bio) of yourself so we have a better sense of who you are and what your passions and interests are before we meet? If so, please provide here.
  • Please provide an emergency contact name and phone number.

We look forward to meeting you!

Holly and Beckie

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