About The Ladies of the Best of Bridge:
In 1975, at a weekend getaway, eight women friends had an idea: Since a consistent highlight of their decade-old bridge group was the food they prepared and shared together, perhaps they should think about writing a cookbook. This spur-of-the-moment notion was the impetus for The Best of Bridge, which went on to become one of the most successful brands in Canadian publishing.
From the outset, "The Ladies of the Best of Bridge," as they like to be known, had a unconventional vision of how their business would be run. It would be a partnership of equals, a celebration of friendship and -- perhaps most of all -- it would be fun. The bank manager who approved their first loan warned them they would never stay friends. They vowed to prove him wrong.
More than 30 years and three million copies later, the ladies are enjoying the last laugh. In addition to creating a phenomenally successful business, they have remained close friends with fond memories of all the good times they've shared. "We had a lot of fun," they say now. "And the media loved us because we were just regular mothers who showed up wearing matching aprons. Sometimes people were astonished that the recipes actually worked, which amazed us because we knew what we were doing."
Not surprisingly, from time to time, life intervened to rock their idyll. "Like a large family, we've experienced everything -- divorce, major illness and deaths," they comment. Not only have they lost parents, husbands and children, two of the partners are deceased.
But the brand lives on -- not only in kitchens, but also in the hearts and minds of Canadians from coast to coast. Written in a welcoming style, the recipes are easy to execute, yet produce "gourmet" results. Their unique approach, which includes jokes to keep cooks smiling, has ensured a faithful following. Best of Bridge recipes are staples at potlucks across the country, and the generation of children raised on them is now cooking for themselves. "We get lots of mail from people looking for specific books to give to their adult kids," the Ladies report. "They want to make dishes that were always served at family celebrations. Our recipes have become part of their domestic traditions."
The Best of Bridge is more than a company. It's an institution that is deeply interwoven into the fabric of Canadian life. But more than that, it's a testament to the spirit and wherewithal of eight exceptional women whose collective head for business is matched by their commitment to each other. As the Ladies would say, "You should have these books. We've tested, tasted and revised. We promise you'll love every recipe."close this panel