The Professional Chef: The Culinary Institute of America

“There is always another level of perfection to achieve and another skill to master.” So begins the latest compendium of culinary instruction from the Culinary Institute of America. It’s no Modernist Cuisine (though it does offer a digital iPad app at $49.99), but weighing in at just over 1000 pages, the behemoth book is as comprehensive as it is efficient (just what a working chef needs). And the book doesn’t just elaborate upon the basic instruction of the CIA curriculum, it explores all facets of the culinary profession, from its cultural roots to the fine art of bookkeeping, from the increasingly important vocabulary of nutrition to the ever-relevant strictures of food safety. Explanations of equipment, product, sourcing, and, of course, technique, assume both the skill set and the ambitions of the professional (not to mention the kitchen space). So whether you’re a pastry chef looking for alternative sweeteners (check out piloncillo, page 229) or a chef looking to expand your vegetarian options (check out the “Method in Detail” section on grains and legumes, page 755), The Professional Chef will help you live up to its name.