The 6 Best Cookbooks for Aspiring Chefs
Filed under: Culinary
March 22, 2018
All chefs have days where they need something that will spark a new idea, reintroduce a technique fallen from daily use, or even remind them why they came to love cooking in the first place.
Sometimes trying a new restaurant or planning a trip to explore a new culture or cuisine is the answer. Often, however, inspiration can simply be found in the cookbooks sitting on your shelves. Of course, building the perfect collection of cookbooks takes time, and to help you get started, here are 6 of the best cookbooks for aspiring chefs to keep on hand.
Mastering the Art of French Cooking
This iconic masterpiece from Julia Child, Simone Beck, and Louisette Bertholle contains 524 recipes introducing classic French techniques and flavors to mainstream America and is famous for breaking down and adapting complex recipes for novice chefs. This pick on our best cookbooks list can offer inspiration even outside French cuisine, as you learn foundational recipes upon which you can elaborate endlessly. 50+ years after the publication of its first groundbreaking volume, Mastering the Art of French Cooking continues to be a prized possession for many.
Joy of Cooking
Joy of Cooking is undoubtedly among the best cookbooks for young chefs, with over 18 million copies sold since it was written in 1931 by homemaker Irma S. Rombauer. In fact, it was from this cookbook that Julia Childs learned to cook. Having undergone various revisions, the cookbook’s latest edition features 4,000+ recipes and much of the book’s original old-school charm and quirkiness. Trust Joy of Cooking when you need to revisit and explore the fundamentals of American comfort food, with timeless recipes and detailed reference materials on techniques, ingredients, cooking methods, and more.
This 1999 award-winning cookbook from Thomas Keller is the ultimate reference guide for aspiring fine dining chefs and one of the best cookbooks for any chef striving for perfection. The book contains 150 impeccable and refined recipes from the French Laundry kitchen—frequently named one of the world’s best restaurants. With precise and often time-consuming techniques that allow for no shortcuts, this book can be tough for beginners. Yet when done well, these recipes are worth the effort.
Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
First published in 1992, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking has become a staple for lovers of Italian cooking. This bestseller by Marcella Hazan is great for chefs of all skills levels. From Hazan’s straightforward recipes and rules, you can learn all about the taste, textures, and ingredients of Italy as you work your way up from basic to advanced skills in authentic Italian cooking.
Widely considered the first chef memoir, Marco Pierre White’s White Heat came out in 1990, a full decade before Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential tell-all hit. While White Heat shares recipes from an acclaimed chef and culinary trailblazer, more eye-catching and famous are the gritty, dramatic black and white photographs of White at work. The accompanying quotes are invigorating, glamorizing his life and passion with a rock and roll vibe. When you need a jolt of inspiration to reignite your passion in the kitchen, look no further than White Heat.
This culinary encyclopedia and recipe book is a must-have for every chef and has been revered for its depth and breadth of information since its release in 1938. Entries in the book are arranged alphabetically, covering everything from cooking techniques to kitchen equipment to food histories. Among these entries are 3,800 recipes for cuisines spanning the globe. Updated with new photographs and culinary technology over the years, this item on our best cookbooks list remains a mainstay throughout professional and home kitchens.
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