50 Chefs' Favorite Cookbooks

Start your wish list: These are the books the pros love the most. 

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The Silver Palate Cookbook

"My favorite cookbook is The Silver Palate Cookbook (Workman) by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. Sheila was a friend, and her recipes revolutionized home cooking. Her Chicken Marbella is one of my go-to recipes for entertaining." 

 

Katie Lee — The Kitchen

Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

"I took Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (Knopf) to Italy with me, and it reinforced everything I was learning. It's imperative for anyone who really wants to learn the Italian kitchen."

 

Anne Burrell — Worst Cooks in America

Mastering the Art of French Cooking

"I started my television career as a guest on Julia Child's series and have always respected and honored her passion, work ethic and wonderful personality. I love the techniques, tips and detailed instructions in Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Knopf)."

 

Lidia Bastianich — Felidia, New York City

The Flavor Bible

"The Flavor Bible (Little, Brown and Company) by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg takes single ingredients and lets you know the seasonality, best cooking method and which ingredients pair well with them."

 

Merlin Verrier  Culinary Director, Lollapalooza, Chicago

The Art of Fermentation

"Fermentation is the new trend in cooking, and The Art of Fermentation (Chelsea Green Publishing) by Sandor Ellix Katz has been invaluable to me. It's less of a recipe book and more of a concept book, which is my favorite way to cook."

 

Matt McClure — The Hive, Bentonville, Ark.

 

The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating

"The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating (Ecco) by Fergus Henderson is a revolutionary book that really made me understand the importance of using the entire beast — not only because it is delicious but also because it is humane and responsible."

 

Michael Symon — Iron Chef America

 

The River Cottage Preserves Handbook

"I love The River Cottage Preserves Handbook, volumes one and two (Ten Speed Press/Bloomsbury UK), by Pam Corbin. Every preserve or condiment tastes like it was freshly picked. In January, opening a jar of summer fruit preserves brings me right back to when the fruit was harvested."

 

Jenn Louis — Lincoln Restaurant, Portland, Ore.

Entertaining in the French Style

"Roger Vergé's Entertaining in the French Style (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) was such a source of culinary and stylistic vision for me when I was young that it will always remain one of my favorite cookbooks. Looking through it is like a quick, romantic, inspiring trip to the South of France."

 

Suzanne Goin — Lucques, Los Angeles

The Seven Sins of Chocolate

"The Seven Sins of Chocolate (DK Adult) by Laurent Schott is a true chocolate bible for the novice or professional cook."

 

G. Garvin — Road Trip with G. Garvin

Alain Ducasse Cooking for Kids

"Alain Ducasse Cooking for Kids (Rizzoli) is by far the best baby and toddler cookbook out there. The illustrations are playful and the recipes are expert."

 

Geoffrey Zakarian — The Kitchen; Chopped

elBulli 2005–2011

"One of the most-amazing things about Ferran Adrià is that he is always willing to share his knowledge, and because of that, elBulli has inspired some of the best chefs in the world. elBulli 2005–2011 (Phaidon Press) is an amazing collection and open reference of all the astonishing discoveries that happened at elBulli."

 

José Andrés — America Eats Tavern at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, McLean, Va.

Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook

"I have more than 1,200 cookbooks in my apartment, and I read every one. Right now Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook (Little, Brown and Company) by Daniel Humm and Will Guidara is my favorite book for food art."

 

Christopher Lee — The Forge, Miami Beach

Molto Batali: Simple Family Meals from My Home to Yours

"Mario Batali's palate is phenomenal. I can always count on Molto Batali: Simple Family Meals from My Home to Yours (Ecco) for delicious and simple seasonal recipes that are perfect for entertaining."

 

Marc Murphy — Chopped

The Auberge of the Flowering Hearth

"The Auberge of the Flowering Hearth (Ecco) by Roy Andries de Groot tells of an almost mystical inn, high in the French Alps, where the proprietor and chef prepare the most-compelling food with fascinating aperitifs and wines sourced locally. I return to this tome for inspiration quite often."

 

Frank Stitt — Highlands Bar and Grill, Birmingham, Ala.

The Fat Duck Cookbook

"I was lucky enough to work at The Fat Duck while The Fat Duck Cookbook (Bloomsbury USA) by Heston Blumenthal was being conceptualized. At that age, I had no concept that someone could ever make a cookbook like that — the amount of detail, photos, creativity. It not only changed how I looked at cookbooks, it changed how I looked at food in general."

 

Jeff Mahin — Stella Barra, Santa Monica

Simple French Food

"Simple French Food (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) by Richard Olney is perhaps one of the best cookbooks ever written. He made the world of French food come alive for Americans as much as Julia Child did, yet to a smaller audience, sadly. He makes recipes straightforward and simple."

 

Jonathan Waxman — Barbuto, New York City

The Zuni Café Cookbook

"The Zuni Café Cookbook (W. W. Norton & Company) is dear to my heart. I love the voice, I love the sensibility. Judy Rodgers mixed French and Italian and American, which I think I do myself. Also, my mother edited the book, so it's sentimental to me."

 

Alex Guarnaschelli — Iron Chef America; Chopped

The Classic Cookbook: The Best of American Home Cooking

"I'm a fan of Christopher Kimball and his recipe testing philosophy. The Classic Cookbook: The Best of American Home Cooking (Little, Brown and Company) is a collection of the best of the best savory and sweet recipes from many years of testing."

 

Roger Mooking — Man Fire Food

Desserts by Pierre Hermé

"I was fortunate enough to work with Pierre Hermé about eight years ago, and I bought Desserts by Pierre Hermé (Little, Brown and Company) to prepare myself. He wasn't easy to please; his requests for equipment and ingredients were quite daunting! However, my first bite into his black truffle and chocolate truffle macaron made me weep like a baby. His techniques are wild, but go for it if you have time."

 

Michelle Bernstein — Seagrape, Miami Beach

Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing

"Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing (W. W. Norton & Company) by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn is a truly insightful exploration of old-school techniques that have come back into the spotlight. I've given out this book as a gift more times than I can remember."

 

Brad Farmerie — Public, New York City

The Physiology of Taste: Harder's Book of Practical American Cookery

"Old cookbooks inspire me because they're about ingredients with character — the kind of ingredients we're trying to get back on the table today. The coolest one is The Physiology of Taste: Harder's Book of Practical American Cookery (Forgotten Books) by Jules Arthur Harder. It's organized by ingredient, and because it was written for chefs and farmers, each section has instructions for growing and storing as well as cooking."

 

Sean Brock — Husk, Charleston, S.C.

Chez Panisse Vegetables

"Chez Panisse Vegetables (HarperCollins) by Alice Waters has been a go-to book of mine for years. The chapters are broken down into seasons, and the recipes never fail to inspire me to make new dishes."

 

Amanda Freitag — Chopped

La Technique: An Illustrated Guide to the Fundamental Techniques of Cooking

"Other than at cooking school, you don't have many opportunities to learn classic techniques. La Technique: An Illustrated Guide to the Fundamental Techniques of Cooking (Times Books) by Jacques Pépin gives wonderful step-by-step photo illustrations of dozens of things home cooks and young chefs might not ever see otherwise. It was indispensable to me early in my career."

 

John Currence — City Grocery, Oxford, Miss.

Glorious Food

"Glorious Food (Stewart, Tabori & Chang) by Christopher Idone because of one recipe: fettuccine with beluga caviar. That with a glass of champagne. 'Nuff said."

 

Jeni Britton Bauer — Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, Columbus, Ohio

Origin: The Food of Ben Shewry

"Origin: The Food of Ben Shewry (Murdoch Books) is a book for chefs. I had one of my most-memorable dining experiences at Ben Shewry's restaurant, Attica, in Melbourne, Australia."

 

Curtis Stone — Kitchen Inferno

Raw: The Uncook Book: New Vegetarian Food for Life

"Raw: The Uncook Book: New Vegetarian Food for Life (Regan Books) by Juliano Brotman opened my eyes to a new way of looking at ingredients. It was like my bible at a turning point in my career."

 

Michael Schwartz — The Cypress Room, Miami

Au Pied de Cochon: The Album

"The cartoon artwork and serious love of pork and foie gras in Au Pied de Cochon: The Album (Douglas & McIntyre) by Martin Picard have a special place in my heart."

 

Chris Cosentino — Boccalone Salumeria, San Francisco

Plenty

"Even though I'm not a vegetarian, I'm drawn to those recipes, which is why I love Plenty (Chronicle) by Yotam Ottolenghi."

 

Susan Feniger — Border Grill, Los Angeles

How to Be a Domestic Goddess

"Nigella Lawson's How to Be a Domestic Goddess (Hyperion) reads like a book, and there's a chocolate volcano cake in there I wish I'd come up with."

 

Sunny Anderson — The Kitchen

Julia's Kitchen Wisdom

"When I need a gift for just-married couples or new cooks, I love to give Julia's Kitchen Wisdom (Knopf) by Julia Child. It's not at all intimidating, yet the reader will learn so much from using it."

 

Mary Sue Milliken — Border Grill, Los Angeles

Old-School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to Cook

"Alex Guarnaschelli's Old-School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to Cook (Clarkson Potter) is about how food can bring people and families together. The recipes aren't complicated, and the food is simple and fun."

 

Robert Irvine — Restaurant: Impossible

The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern

"The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern (Random House) by Claudia Fleming is the best American pastry book ever produced."

 

Andrew Carmellini — The Dutch, New York City

SPQR: Modern Italian Food and Wine

"From its pastas and roast meats to its attention to seasonal cooking, SPQR: Modern Italian Food and Wine (Ten Speed Press) by Shelley Lindgren and Matthew Accarrino is perfect California Italian."

 

Ford Fry — The Optimist, Atlanta

Culinaria Spain

"I reach for Culinaria Spain (H.F. Ullmann Publishing) by Marion Trutter again and again, not only for recipes but as a reference volume. It's so comprehensive in detailing the culinary traditions from every region of Spain, from rice-growing Valencia to the seafood paradise of Galicia, and everything in between."

 

Jose Garces — Iron Chef America

Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets

"If you love Thai food, you have to have Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand (Ten Speed Press) by Andy Ricker."

 

Dale Talde —Talde, Brooklyn

Simple Cuisine

"Simple Cuisine (Prentice Hall Trade) by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, one of my mentors, showcases a lighter approach to French cooking yet still produces timeless recipes with big flavors."

 

Greg Vernick — Vernick Food & Drink, Philadelphia

Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way

"Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way (Artisan) by Francis Mallmann is a combination of primal, communal and tasteful cooking."

 

Michael Chiarello — Kitchen Inferno

Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy

"Just when you think you know everything about Mexican cooking, Diana Kennedy's Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy (University of Texas Press) reminds you that the cuisine is so vast, beautiful and deeply rooted in tradition that the training never ends. Plus, she signed it for me when I met her in Puebla and it's available in Spanish!"

 

Marcela Valladolid — The Kitchen

Mexican Family Cooking

"Mexican Family Cooking (Fawcett) is my grandmother Aída Gabilondo's cookbook, and it holds a very special place in my heart. I remember watching her prepare these dishes and eating them with my family. From how to properly make tortillas to working with chiles, it covers all the basics."

 

Aarón Sánchez — Chopped; Taco Trip (on Cooking Channel)

In Pursuit of Flavor

"Aside from her inspirational life story, Edna Lewis' strong, soulful approach to cuisine in In Pursuit of Flavor (Knopf) continues to influence both home and professional cooks. Her undeniable passion for food and hospitality transcends generations."

 

Levon Wallace — Proof on Main, Louisville, Ky.

Joy of Cooking

"Joy of Cooking (Scribner) by Irma Rombauer is a classic cookbook with recipes for just about any dish you can imagine. The recipes aren't overly complicated, which gives you room to put your own little spin on things."

 

Tim Love — Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Fort Worth, Texas

Great Indian Feasts

"I love to cook Indian food for friends and on my days off. Great Indian Feasts (John Blake) by Mridula Baljekar focuses on feasts that are enjoyed across India during special celebrations."

 

Barbara Lynch — Menton, Boston

Essential Cuisine

"Essential Cuisine (Ici La Pr) by Michel Bras explores the Mediterranean ingredient base and flavor profile on a level I can only envy."

 

Michael Psilakis — MP Taverna, three locations in New York

Classical and Contemporary Italian Cooking for Professionals

"I've used Classical and Contemporary Italian Cooking for Professionals (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) for many years to navigate the waters of Italian cooking. It's written by Bruno Ellmer, one of my instructors at the Culinary Institute of America and a true master of Italian cuisine."

 

Scott Conant — Chopped

Casa Moro

"Casa Moro (Ebury Press) by Samantha and Samuel Clark was one of the first cookbooks that made me want to get off the couch and cook."

 

Daniel Holzman — The Meatball Shop, New York City

James Beard's American Cookery

"I use James Beard's American Cookery (Little, Brown and Company) as a constant reminder of the origins of American cookery. I love the historical perspective that Beard brings to home-style dishes."

 

Michael Lomonaco — Porter House New York, New York City

The Silver Spoon

"The Silver Spoon (Phaidon Press) has phenomenal Italian recipes with amazing explanations."

 

Guy Fieri — Guy's Grocery Games; Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

Marc Forgione: Recipes and Stories from the Acclaimed Chef and Restaurant

"Marc Forgione was my chef at BLT, and it's been a pleasure watching him grow throughout his career. His book, Marc Forgione: Recipes and Stories from the Acclaimed Chef and Restaurant (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), includes a lot of his new recipes and techniques as well as things that we worked on together. The student has become a master, and I could not be more proud."

 

Laurent Tourondel — Arlington Club, New York City

The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

"In my eyes, Ina Garten is the queen of cookbooks! She has mastered the art of writing recipes that include familiar ingredients and simple techniques that any home cook can pull off with ease. I love all of her books, but the original, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook (Clarkson Potter), is my favorite."

 

Kelsey Nixon — Kelsey's Essentials

Larousse Gastronomique

"Larousse Gastronomique (Clarkson Potter) by Prosper Montagné is the best all-around reference for just about everything. My original version is duct-taped together."

 

Donald Link — Link Restaurant Group, New Orleans

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