The Best Cookbooks of the Year
It seems each year there are more incredible cookbooks published than the last; it’s a tough job to whittle down the lengthy list into a handful of my favorites. This year in particular, there are several noteworthy debuts, like Aaron Franklin’s meat smoking manifesto, Michael Solomonov’s ode to Israeli cuisine, and Alex Stupak’s in-depth look at one of Mexico’s greatest culinary exports: tacos. No matter what type of cook you consider yourself to be, these are all cookbooks that should be in your library.
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by Aaron Franklin
A meticulously detailed guide to barbecue—from how to build a smoker and choose firewood, to cooking and slicing the meat, to pairing barbecue with beer—Aaron Franklin gives you the tools and knowledge you need to make your own award winning barbecue at home. It’s the ultimate reference book on barbecue.
Tacos: Recipes & Provocations
by Alex Stupak & Jordana Rothman
Alex Stupak left the modernist pastry world five years ago to pursue his obsession with Mexican food, opening a mini empire of restaurants in NYC with great success. In his new book, co-written with food writer Jordana Rothman, Stupak lays out the essentials for making incredible tacos at home, including an in-depth look at the process of making tortillas, a diverse range of salsas and of course, the fillings. It’s a must for anyone wanting to up their taco Tuesday game.
by J. Kenji López-Alt
From the culinary director of Serious Eats J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, this book is made for those who really want to dig into the science—that is the hows and whys—of cooking. One thousand pages, 300 recipes and an immense amount of knowledge to insure that you understand how to make classic American dishes great, every time.
by Hugh Acheson
Ever leave the farmers market with a basket full of beautiful produce, yet no clue what you’re going to do with it? Here, Hugh Acheson gives you useful, approachable tips and recipes for fresh ingredients, from parsnips and potatoes to kohlrabi and arugula. Divided into four seasons of produce, The Broad Fork gives us the inspiration to wrap ourselves around vegetables and fruits in new ways.
by Danny Bowien
Danny Bowien is one of the most innovative chefs—and arguably the ballsiest—in the country, taking the culinary world by storm with Mission Chinese Food. His new book tells the story of his unlikely rise to chef stardom, from San Francisco to New York, accompanied by the addictive recipes that won over the country. It makes home cooks of all levels rethink what it means to cook Chinese food.
Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking
by Michael Solomonov
Highly regarded as one of the best chefs in Philadelphia—and I’d say in the entire country—Michael Solomonov’s Israeli food at the award-winning Zahav is mind blowing. In his first cookbook, Solomonov showcases the melting-pot cooking of Israel, from mezze like hummus to celebratory lamb shoulder braised in pomegranate molasses. It’s a restaurant cookbook that’s as beautiful on your coffee table as it is useful in the kitchen.
by Peter Meehan
The first cookbook from the inspiring food quarterly Lucky Peach, 101 Easy Asian Recipes features dishes meant for the home cook. It has a 70s retro vibe and unlike the magazine, it doesn’t rely heavily on lengthy editorial or complicated recipes. There’s also a hint of humor, with recipes like their twisted take on food court Mall Chicken.
by Corey Lee
Corey Lee is one of the most talented chefs in America. He’s a master technician and a creative wunderkind, cooking on a different level than almost anyone else in the country. This year Lee published his first cookbook, Benu, a beautiful tribute to his restaurant presented as a 32-course tasting menu, exploring his own interpretation of the modern American food experience.
by Enrique Olvera
There’s no doubt that Pujol, Enrique Olvera’s flagship restaurant in Mexico City, is one of the most important eateries in the Americas. And with the incredible success of his new NYC restaurant Cosme, it’s clear that Olvera is a master in the prime of his creative life. Like his award-winning cuisine, his first cookbook captures contemporary cuisine anchored in Mexican culinary traditions.
Pasta by Hand
by Jenn Louis
F&W 10 Best designee and chef/owner of Lincoln in Portland, Oregon, Jenn Louis’ new book represents her tour of Italy in search of all things dumpling. With more than 65 approachable recipes for hand-shaped traditional pastas and dumplings, and the sauces to mix and match, it’s a must for Italian food lovers and one of the best cookbooks of the year. Hands down.
by Elias Cairo
The debut cookbook from Portland’s famed Olympic Provisions is a stunning meat manifesto, with recipes for old world pates, sausages, salamis and charcuterie (ranging from simple to challenging), in addition to recipes from the company’s two beloved restaurants.
by Gaston Acurio
Gaston Acurio is Peru’s most renowned chef, an incredible ambassador of Peruvian cuisine who’s carving out a global restaurant empire of Andean flavors. He’s devoted his career to elevating his country’s unique culinary heritage, and now you can share in that journey with this anthology of Peruvian cuisine. It’s my new obsession, and a brilliant look at a cultural hegemony that is Peruvian food
The NoMad Cookbook
by Daniel Humm & Will Guidara
The food scene at the NoMad in New York City is second to none. It’s the only place I want to stay when I visit my hometown. Chef Daniel Humm and his business partner Will Guidara are known for perfectly executed, innovative cuisine and their cookbook is the perfect gift for anyone as loyal to their brand as I am. It’s gorgeous and there’s a hidden book within the book containing all of Leo Robitschek’s amazing cocktail recipes.
by Dominique Crenn
The debut cookbook from the first female chef in America to earn two Michelin stars, Atelier Crenn captures the creativity and talent of the meticulous and talented Dominique Crenn. Let’s be honest: few people will every attempt a recipe from this book. And who cares? It’s meant to be more of a showpiece than a manual. It’s a work of art.
by Ruth Reichl
Ruth Reichl’s first cookbook in over 40 years, My Kitchen Year will be a food-stained stalwart on your shelf. Through 136 recipes and engaging narrative, Reichl shares how she found solace after the unexpected closure of Gourmet magazine, the country’s first epicurean publication where she was Editor-in-Chief for a decade. It’s an intimate look at one of the country’s most well known food writers and her journey to rediscovering the simple pleasures of the kitchen.
by Derek Dammann
The chef of DNA and Maison Publique in Montreal, Derek Dammann’s True North explores the people and places that shape Canadian cuisine. The book is divided into regions—Farm, Vineyard, Pacific, Atlantic, Tundra, Forest, Field, Home—with recipes, both rustic and challenging, representative of each place.
by Pierre Thiam
This book explores Pierre Thiam’s creative take on Senegalese cuisine, showcasing the depth and breadth of Senegal’s multifaceted culinary landscape. It’s filled with vibrant, soulful recipes that’ll leave you yearning for an epicurean adventure in West Africa.
by Jacques Pépin
A friend, mentor, living legend and one of the world’s most beloved chefs, you can never go wrong with a few lessons in cooking from Jacques Pepin. With more than 200 recipes, Heart & Soul in the Kitchen is an invitation to dine with Pépin and his family.
by Michael Anthony
Gramercy Tavern’s executive chef Michael Anthony has written a book for the home cook, divulging the secrets to unleashing flavor in vegetables. It’s not a book exclusively for vegetarians; there are plenty of dishes for the omnivore. At its core, it’s a book that’ll get you excited about cooking with vegetables.