My Favorite Cookbooks of the Year
Every year hundreds of cookbooks are published, dozens of which deserve a spot on your shelf. But we’ve tried to narrow it down to a handful that really impress–whether it’s the private cooking lessons from the world’s best chefs in Dana Cowin’s Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen, cooking over an open fire with Francis Mallman or discovering a flavor you’ve overlooked in Jennifer McLagan’s Bitter. With these books, I guarantee an exciting year of cooking ahead of you.
Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen
by Dana Cowin
Food & Wine Magazine editor-in-chief Dana Cowin may have her finger on the pulse of the food world, but, as she recently disclosed in her new book Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen, she lacked confidence in the kitchen. This must-read cookbook chronicles her quest to fix her culinary mishaps by cooking with some of the world’s most accomplished chefs—people like Batali, Keller, Chang and yes, even me.
by David Lebovitz
A veteran pastry chef who spent more than a decade working at Chez Panisse before moving to Paris and launching a wildly successful blog, David Lebovitz is our go-to guru for Parisian food and cooking. In his latest book, My Paris Kitchen, he shares stories about expat life, alongside revamped classic French recipes, from duck confit to salted butter caramel chocolate mousse.
by Dorie Greenspan
In her new book Baking Chez Moi, culinary goddess Dorie Greenspan demystifies French desserts with concise, unfussy recipes. Apple tarte flambée, classic crème brûlée, espresso tiramisu, crackle-top cream puffs, profiteroles… do we need to say more?
by Jamie Bissonnette
Jamie Bissonnette’s charcuterie is simple and approachable. He can take ordinary food, even odd bits, and make angels weep. That’s real cooking. And it’s why this book belongs stained and used, torn and beaten in the kitchen of every human being who owns a cutting board. Don’t know how to cure meat? Neither did I until I was shown. If you take the time to make one recipe each week for 4 months, you will have a master’s degree in curing.
by Jeni Britton Bauer
Jeni Britton Bauer owns one of my favorite scoop shops in the world. The magic of her amazing new book is in her understanding of what home cooks and sweet treat hobbyists really want, a book that is so full of kitchen adventure and learning that it becomes a DIY experience with edible outcomes.
by Renee Erickson
Renee Erickson’s much-anticipated cookbook is a menu-based love letter to the cuisine and ingredients of the Pacific Northwest. It’s a blueprint to cooking and hosting the perfect party, from a wintery brunch menu to a Fourth of July Crab Feast.
by Gabrielle Hamilton
After the success of Gabrielle Hamilton’s acclaimed memoir Blood, Bones & Butter, her devout fans have been waiting on pins and needles for a cookbook. Just released this November, Prune is an inside look into the restaurant’s kitchen and its most beloved recipes. It’s the next best thing to landing a line cook position and learning from Hamilton herself.
by Francis Mallman
One of the most famous chefs in South America, Francis Mallman has inspired a whole generation of live fire aficionados. In his latest book Mallman on Fire, he’s coaxing his readers to try cooking over an open fire, to be patient and to enjoy the experience. He gives you all the tools you need to step up your outdoor cooking game, but don’t worry, if you’re confined to an apartment, most of the recipes can be adapted for the stove.
by Thomas McNaughton
Thomas McNaughton’s pasta-filled cookbook left me drooling. If you’ve never been inspired to make pasta from scratch in your own kitchen, one look at this cookbook–with step-by-step photo instructions and dreamy pasta dishes–and you’ll suddenly find yourself dusting off your pasta machine. Part One is all about the dough, from what flours to use to how to store it. Part Two: irresistible recipes… ravioli, tagliatelle, tortellini, squid ink chitarra, farfalle, triangoli, each paired with a seasonal sauce.
by George Mendes
The chef/owner of the Portuguese-inspired Aldea in NYC, George Mendes’ first cookbook, My Portugal, is filled with stories and recipes based on a road trip through his native country. It’s a must-read that’ll have you booking a trip to Portugal next summer.
by Tom Mylan
Seven years after launching Marlow & Sons’ local meat program, this largely self-taught meat man is running one of the best butcher shops in New York, specializing in whole animal offerings. Equal parts cookbook and butchering handbook, Tom Mylan’s Meat Hook Meat Book is a guide to buying and cooking better meat. Perfect for the carnivore in your life.
by Charles Phan
Charles Phan is the godfather of modern Vietnamese food in America. Ask anyone where to eat in San Francisco, and I guarantee The Slanted Door will make the cut. It’s been a mainstay in this city since it opened in 1995. In Phan’s latest book, he shares his most beloved recipes for dishes and cocktails from the restaurant, alongside gorgeous photographs and anecdotes from the Slanted Door’s storied history.
by Christian Puglisi
Relae is one of the best chef-driven cookbooks of the year. It delves deep into Christian Puglisi’s creative process, with a series of essays that detail every aspect of the restaurant, from its inception to the ingredients used to his cooking theories. Then there are the recipes, and while they’re complex, they’re worth the extra effort.
by Johnny Iuzzini
If you’re looking for one great baking and pastry book for the season, I can’t imagine anything better. Johnny Iuzzini’s one of the most respected pastry chefs in the country, and this book is his step-by-step guide to mastering the technique-driven art that is baking. Once you learn the basics, whether it’s caramel, custard or meringue, you’ll be onto homemade panna cotta, marshmallows and tarte tatin.
by Gunnar Gislason & Jody Eddy
In North, Gunnar Gislason and Jody Eddy profile artisan producers who are reviving Iceland’s culinary heritage–a farmer who saved the country’s goat population from extinction, another who single-handedly returned the tradition of barley farming to the nation. You’ll also find an equal amount of recipes and breath-taking photographs that will put Iceland at the top of your must-visit destinations.
by Marcus Samuelsson
In Marcus Off Duty, chef, award-winning author and TV host Marcus Samuelsson steps out of the restaurant and into his home kitchen, where he teaches readers to cook global, flavorful and approachable recipes. It’s filled with funky illustrations, stories, personalized playlists, and his tips and tricks for tackling ethnic cuisines at home.
by Yotam Ottolenghi
Acclaimed chef Yotam Ottolenghi has done it again. His past cookbooks—Jerusalem, Ottolenghi, Plenty—are all beautifully photographed, best-selling books that every cook should have on their shelf. Plenty More is no different. He’s a true genius when it comes to coaxing complex, bold flavors out of vegetables.
by Sean Brock
Chef Sean Brock has garnered a serious cult following, not just for the food at his restaurants Husk and McCrady’s, but also for his die-hard passion for reviving Southern ingredients and food culture. In his first book, Heritage, Brock shares years of stories and recipes that’ve inspired him along the way, such as hoppin’ john, crispy pig ear lettuce wraps (my personal favorite from Husk), pickled shrimp and skillet cornbread.
by Nicolaus Balla & Cortney Burns
Bar Tartine co-chefs Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns have written a definitive guide to exquisite from-scratch cooking. The first half of the book details how to dry your own herbs, cure your own meat, infuse oils, render animal fat… all ingredients that make up the flavorful base of the recipes in the second half of the book. These are recipes to make when you’re looking to impress.
by Debi Mazar & Gabriele Corcos
What can I say, I love everything Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos do. If you weren’t already in love with Tuscany and the region’s rustic Italian food, they’ll sure make a believer out of you in no time.
by Jennifer McLagan
A James Beard award-winning author, Jennifer McLagan is known for challenging her readers, delving into topics that make us rethink what we eat and why. She’s famously covered Bones, Fat and Odd Bits, each a single subject book with recipes that aim to revive an unloved ingredient. McLagan’s latest book is Bitter, a fascinating look into the science, culture and history of an underrated and misunderstood flavor.
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