For all that’s going on in the world, there may not be a better time to be a home cook. We’re lucky there’s a wealth of resources at our fingertips, from blogs to YouTube channels to amazing purveyors willing to ship the best spices, sauces, fish, meat and more right to our homes. And there’s also been a dynamic new crop of cookbooks we’ve cooked from all year that have had us flexing our creativity and honing the classics in the kitchen. From a Top Chef fan favorite showing how to create delicious food that’s still good for you, to one of Seattle’s best chefs taking you on a global tour, to a master class in making pasta, these are the the 13 best cookbooks released this year.
Gregory Gourdet and JJ Goode
In Portland, Ore. Top Chef fan favorite Gregory Gourdet has been working on his wood-fired Haitian restaurant Kann, which was a pop-up yurt village last winter with a permanent location under construction in the Rose City. But he was also toiling away at a cookbook that taps into the global flavors he has incorporated into his cooking in the past, as well as the nutrient-dense foods he turned to after he got sober and to fuel his distance running. In Everyone’s Table, he’s developed recipes that support healthy living while not sacrificing flavor.
Ori Menashe & Genevieve Gergis with Lesley Suter
When husband-and-wife duo Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis opened Bavel, the follow up to their hit LA restaurant Bestia, three years ago, they had another sensation on their hands. Though Menashe had cooked Italian food his whole career, he longed to want to tap into the flavors of his youth growing up in Israel. He and Gergis combined that experience with their travel around the Middle East to create a stellar restaurant where cultures from around the region live side by side. Now, they’re also following up their Bestia cookbook with one devoted to recipes from Bavel. Its pages will teach you to make beef cheek tagine, harissa prawns, Persian mulberry pudding cake and more.
Mister Jiu’s in Chinatown
Brandon Jew and Tienlon Ho
Mister Jiu’s in Chinatown is a book in the tradition of many great restaurant tomes: It gives you the true way dishes are made in the restaurant—Brandon Jew’s Michelin-starred Mister Jiu’s—not a version translated with the home cook in mind. This means the recipes are layered, labor-intensive and sometimes multi-day affairs. The moo goo gai pan requires recipes executed elsewhere in the book, like the pickled sunchokes from page 213 and the chicken boudin blanc that’s detailed on page 90. For the fermented grain jook with lobster, Jiu advises you to plan four to five days ahead to ferment the barley and afford yourself four hours the day of to create the chicken broth. The book also departs from the restaurant’s four walls to explore the cultures and customs of San Francisco’s Chinatown and the foundations of Chinese American cuisine.
Renee Erickson with Sara Dickerman
Food can be transporting. And in Seattle chef and restaurateur Renee Erickson’s new cookbook, she wants to take you around the world. Instead of focusing her efforts around her hit restaurants like the Whale Wins, the Walrus and the Carpenter and Bateau, she’s sharing recipes from her favorite regions. You learn recipes from Seattle, sure, but also join her on culinary jaunts to Rome, Paris, Normandy, Baja California and London.
By Chad Robertson and Jennifer Latham
America’s guru of gluten is back with another carb-filled tome on the wonders of bread. For so many bakers around the world—both professional and amateur—the Tartine co-founder’s original cookbook was the gold standard for learning how to craft a naturally leavened country loaf using his high-hydration, no-knead method. He’s getting into the weeds on other styles of bread in this book, like dinner rolls, hamburger buns, slab bread, rye, baguettes, gluten-free and more. And with each style, he offers up recipes to utilize your newfound bread knowledge, like a filet-o-fish or einkorn pita chips with dulse.
Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking
By Cheryl Day
Author and co-owner of Savannah, Ga.’s Back in the Day Bakery, Day has been baking and chronicling the sweeter side of Southern life for years. Day carries on a tradition of Southern baking, one close to her heart and family. Her great-great grandmother, who was enslaved, became an acclaimed pastry cook in her own right. Packed with more than 200 recipes, she shares the secrets for better biscuits, cakes, cookies, pies, preserves and more for a master class in Southern baking.
Take One Fish
From his small, independent restaurant in Sydney, Australia, Josh Niland has become one of the world’s most respected seafood chefs. He chronicled his innovative approach to fish butchery and cookery in his award-winning debut The Whole Fish Cookbook. Now he’s back with his sophomore effort Take One Fish. In this collection, he presents 60 recipes based around 15 different types of fish, grouping them by size and sharing tips like how to treat a tuna steak like beef.
The Food of Oaxaca
Alejandro Ruiz with Carla Altesor
Chef Alejandro Ruiz has become an unofficial ambassador to one of the world’s great culinary regions. The state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico stretches from the mountains and valleys inland down to the Pacific Ocean, creating a rich biodiversity that fuels the cuisine of the region. His book is a mix of traditional techniques and recipes for things like tamales, moles and tortillas as well as a showcase of original creations he’s served at his restaurants, like jicama tacos and Oaxacan chocolate mousse.
Cook Real Hawai’i
Sheldon Simeon with Garrett Snyder
Sheldon Simeon believed what had come to define Hawaii cuisine in the rest of the country didn’t fit with the actual food people ate in his home state. His fellow Americans had been sold a myth—a Disneyfied version of the cuisine driven more by what resorts fed tourists. That spurred him to write his debut book, Cook Real Hawai’i, which showcases a cuisine you won’t find at the resorts or the sriracha-mayo-happy poke shops that have sprouted up across the mainland. It’s a culinary sensibility that’s informed by centuries of immigration and colonization, and that could exist only on these islands.
Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ
Rodney Scott and Lolis Eric Elie
Down in Charleston, SC, pitmaster Rodney Scott is making whole-hog barbecue that’s so good, he won a James Beard Award as the South’s best chef in 2018. In his debut cookbook he’s partnered with acclaimed writer Lolis Eric Elie to share his secrets for better low-and-slow as well as must-have sides—like cornbread with honey butter and macaroni and cheese—and also shares recipes for backyard grilling, all while weaving in personal stories and the histories of Southern foodways.
Angie Rito, Scott Tacinelli and Jamie Feldmar
We’ve come full circle. Immigrants from Southern Italy arrived in the States a few generations ago and on the East Coast they created their own form of red sauce-laden Italian-American cuisine. There was parm and meatballs and cheesy pasta and Sunday gravy. Red sauce joints proliferated too. Then in the past generation, an obsession with “authenticity” made chefs look directly to Italy and restaurants served the food made there. Now, at places like Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli’s Don Angie, Carbone and Jon & Vinny in LA, it’s cool to embrace Italian-American food as its own cuisine. And that’s what Rito and Tacinelli do in their new cookbook, giving you creative recipes like shrimp parm meatballs and their coveted pinwheel lasagna.
From the author of the cookbook Vegetable Kingdom, James Beard Award-winner Bryant Terry is back to curate a collection of stories and recipes from chefs and food world luminaries around the globe. It’s a study of the African diaspora that chronicles a diversity of cultures and cuisines. There’s star pastry chef Paola Velez sharing her flan de arroz con dulce; Yewande Komolafe and her crispy cassava skillet cakes; JJ Johnson’s jollof rice with beans; Gregory Gourdet’s charred red cabbage; and much more.
Missy Robbins and Talia Baiocchi
In her new book Missy Robbins offers a master class in the rich and varied world of pasta. First, she walks you through 11 different types of fresh dough, from egg to gnudi to chickpea, and also a lesson on making extruded pasta. And then she goes about showing you how to create nearly 50 different shapes that she then deploys in array of dishes. She weaves in tips and tricks she’s picked up along the way working in Italy, then with Tony Mantuano’s Michelin-starred La Spiaggia in Chicago and eventually building her own beloved restaurants Lilia and Misi in Brooklyn.
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