2020 program cancelled

Rescheduled for 2021.

March, 202 • Tepoztlan, Mexico    

Sculpt a cookbook proposal 

Polish your personal brand 

Wrangle the cookbook writing process


Join author Cathy Barrow in glorious Tepoztlan, Mexico for an 8-day intensive workshop surrounded by beauty and inspiration, offset by plenty of free time to write, relax, and explore this Central Highlands town rich in history and legend. Daily workshops will include crafting the proposal introduction, organizing a table of contents, recipe writing skills, and gathering the proposal’s promotion and marketing segments. In addition, learn to present an entertaining and organized demonstration. (We will film each participant’s demo for a take-home video.)

Beyond writing and workshopping, planned excursions and events include a trip to the weekly market, a visit to the famed Bean and Seed mural, and a cooking class to learn to make tortillas, salsa, and guacamole and how to mix up the perfect margarita. Another day, we will attend a lecture on Mexican art, learning about symbolism, food, and Mexican life through the paintings of this region.

Writing prompts are everywhere in Tepoztlan. Taste your way through the weekly market. Wander along the streets. Savor the art, the flowers, the mountains.

The setting for this week is Casa Temictli, famous for its architectural beauty, gastronomical extravagance, and spaces filled with art. Our hosts, Doug Clark and Janet Dawson, have been dear friends of mine for decades. They have offered to open their gracious home for this week of cookbook talk and it couldn’t be a more inspirational locale. The number of attendees is limited to 8, guaranteeing each participant will have ample time and attention for working on their own cookbook proposal.

Attendees are welcome to bring a friend or partner who need not participate in the workshops. Non-participant pricing is detailed below. This is a particularly good retreat to attend with a friend or spouse who might not want to take part in the writing workshops, but who may be interested in enjoying a week experiencing the colors and traditions of Mexico. Non-participant pricing is detailed below.

What to Expect


*Proposal Writing. Cathy will review and offer suggestions on your proposal or help you get started.


*Workshop your ideas in a cooperative, supportive group.


*From outline to recipe tests, headnotes to acknowledgements — how to plan your time.


*How to organize a shot list. How to get the most out of the photoshoot.


*Cookbook marketing. What works, what doesn’t, and how to budget.


*Demo like a pro. Demonstrate and speak about your book at the same time. 


We begin our week on Sunday afternoon and end after breakfast the following Sunday. Transportation from Mexico City airport can be arranged.

We will begin each day with a leisurely buffet breakfast on the terrace followed by a 3- to 4- hour workshop. In addition to offering essential tips and tools for navigating the cookbook proposal process, the participants will workshop their proposal introductions and recipes. Everyone is likely to be at different points along the road to a cookbook, and the sessions will be tailored to each attendee, ensuring everyone has time to work on what is most relevant to them. The application process will help me understand what will be most important and what will inspire. 

Each day, there will be time left free to explore Tepoztlàn, enjoy a swim in the pool, a visit to the market, or take advantage of quiet writing time in the garden or cool living room. (For a full tour of Casa Temictli, see the video at the bottom of the page.)

Optional excursions include a hike to the pyramid in the surrounding mountains or a mezcal tasting. Arrangements can also be made for private yoga classes, private or semi-private Spanish lessons, and massages. 

The Workshop Leader

Cathy Barrow is an award-winning author, knitter, traveler, cook, teacher, and gardener. Published in The New York TimesThe Washington Post, Serious Eats, Food52, The Local Palate, Garden & Gun, Southern Living, NPR, and National Geographic, Cathy believes in the power of home cooking and the stories that connect us to food, culture, home, friends, and family.

Her first book, Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry, won IACP Best Single Subject Cookbook. In 2019, Pie Squared was nominated for a James Beard Award for Baking. When Pies Fly, will be published in September, 2019. She writes a regular column in The Washington Post called BRING IT! about cooking for a crowd.

The Meals

Doug Clark and Janet Dawson, are extraordinary hosts and provide meals using the exceptional local ingredients and Janet’s own unique talent for preparing and presenting the best of Mexico’s gastronomic extravagance. 

Breakfast: Freshly squeezed juices, coffee and tea, tropical fruits, cereal, and a daily hot breakfast option

Lunch: A substantial midday meal with both hot and cold options will be served. 

Dinner: Multi-course meal including 1 complimentary glass of wine or beer*

Vegetarian options are available; limited special diet accommodations are available

*Wine and beer will be sold by the bottle at cost. Attendees are also welcome to BYOB.

Getting There

Participants will fly to Mexico City International Airport (MEX). Tepoztlan is a 90 minute ride from the airport and airport transfer to/from Casa Temictli (approximately $50 each way) can be arranged and shared with other participants, provided flights arrive around the same time. 

Where to Stay

There are three bedrooms in Casa Temictli (see the photos below). There are optional accommodations in town — both a beautiful boutique hotel just 3 minutes walking from Casa Temictli, as well as a budget-friendly hotel just around the corner. Regardless of where you stay, meals will be enjoyed together and all attendees (and spouses/partners) are welcome to make use of all the facilities including the pool, WiFi, garden, and writing tables set throughout the house. All rooms in Casa Temictli may be booked at a “couple’s rate” and the second person does not need to be taking the workshop. 



Deluxe room, King bed, ensuite bathroom, private balcony, single or double occupancy



Shared bathroom with CANADA Room, private balcony

may be booked as 2 twin beds, double occupancy, US$2250 each

OR with the king bed, single occupancy, US$2800 each


CANADA ROOM US$2700 each

Queen bed, shared bathroom with Canada Room, single or double occupancy


Other Accommodation Options (walking distance)

DELUXE HOTEL Quinta la Herradura

Suites and deluxe rooms are available at a neighboring boutique hotel just 3 minutes away by foot. The suites all have a private balcony or terrace. All rooms have mountain views.

Deluxe Suite (1 king bed, ensuite bathroom, balcony with mountain view, terrace, access to all hotel facilities): US$3000 (single-occupancy)

Standard Suite (1 queen bed, ensuite bathroom, mountain view, terrace, access to all hotel facilities): US$2850 (single-occupancy)

BUDGET HOTEL, Posado los Alebrijes 

A simple, family-run hotel just 5 minutes from Casa Temictli, is a budget friendly option for attendees. The rooms are bright and clean and there is a rooftop terrace with a view of the mountains.

Single Room, PRIVATE (1 double bed, ensuite private bathroom): US$2100

Double Room, SHARED (2 double beds, ensuite bathroom): US$1950 per person (double-occupancy)



All prices include accommodations for 7 nights, gourmet meals*, daily writing workshops, a market outing, an art lecture, use of all facilities at Casa Temictli including WiFi, Pool, Pool towels, garden access, and writing tables.

*all meals are included with the exception of two dinners when attendees are on their own.

Prices do not include flight, airport transfer (approximately US$50 one-way)

All prices in US Dollars. Payment plans are available.

Couples are welcome. For partners not taking the workshop, add US$725 to the single occupancy rate to cover meals and room costs. For partners participating in the writing workshop, please add US$1500 to the single occupancy rate for all rooms.


Contact Cathy Barrow at cathy@cathybarrow.com


Day by Day in Tepoztlan


Sunday, March 1

5pm – 9pm    Introductions over cocktails and dinner


Monday, March 2 


Overview & Introductions to Your Work

Proposal Writing

Elements of a book proposal



Workshop: Your Proposals 



Tuesday, March 3


Finding an Agent

Researching photographers

Page counts and other numbers

When to strike

Social Media: Friend or Foe?

Workshop: Your Introductions



Cooking class: Essential Mexican. Learn to make tortillas, guacamole, salsa, margarita

The Art of Recipe Demonstration





Shop the market



Workshop: Headnote and Recipe Writing 






Demo workshop

Each participant will be asked to demonstrate a recipe. The demos will be videotaped. 



Continue demon workshop

Cocktail hour Art Lecture by Janet Dawson





Process. Once you have a book deal, how to plan the money, time, 

and resources to meet the deadline. 

Recipe development and testing

Writing programs and organizing the work.

Who are the players? What is a copyeditor? What is a production manager? 

Schedules and Deadlines

How to plan a photo shoot.



One on One sessions with Cathy





Final Workshop our Proposal Introduction revisions



Rehearse demonstrations 

Continue One on One sessions

FAREWELL DINNER and Celebration at Casa Temictli

Demonstrations on the terrace (for the camera)



Breakfast and depart