Rebecca Gray
American Artisanal: Finding the Country’s Best Real Food, from Cheese to Chocolate
Mar 2008
Random House Inc.

Rebecca Gray, author of eight cookbooks, writes about her experiences with 18 of the country’s leading food artisans in this book of essays. Each chapter is the story of a particular artisan’s life and work, and why they and their food are unique. These are folks who are returning to the basics of sustainable, small-scale, or just plain high quality production. In their inspirational stories we also can see the emergence of a true national cuisine. Also, woven throughout each chapter is the engaging history behind our foods–their natural origins and long journeys to cultivation. Recipes and ordering information are provided so you can enjoy these culinary delights at home. Recipes come at the end of every chapter so you can enjoy a Ginger-Mint Ice Cream Float at home.

Eugenia Bone
At Mesa’s Edge: Cooking and Ranching in Colorado’s North Fork Valley
Jan 2011
Houghton Mifflin

At Mesa’s Edge chronicles the transformation of seasoned food writer and determined Manhattanite Eugenia Bone into Westward-bound woman of the wilderness. Okay, so maybe she hasn’t abandoned all pretense to city sophistication—Bone and her family live part of the year in New York City. But Bone is now sufficiently ensconced in the rugged lifestyle of Colorado’s North Fork Valley to offer up this memoir, as much a story of her personal transformations on the family’s Colorado ranch as a guide to the cuisine, products, and spirit of this pocket of American wilderness. And while the rest of us soak up the vicarious thrill, despair, and knuckle-busting tribulations, city and coast-bound chefs can pore over the 100 recipes. Bone might not have known how to tackle the terrain as comfortably as her native Westerner husband, but with decades of food savvy under her belt—and in the pages of Gourmet, Food & Wine, Saveur magazines, and more—Bone knows how to tackle the cuisine. Her recipes showcase local flavors in all their traditional glory (“Lamb Hash”, “real Colorado comfort food,” says Bone) and in the context of a more sophisticated perspective (“Game Birth Broth with Cilantro Crespelle”).

James Villas
Between Bites: Memoirs of a Hungry Hedonist
Apr 2002
Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated

James Villas stumbled into his forty year long career while escaping from the rain. Interested in food, but not as a career, he ducked into the Hôtel de la Côte d’Or during the reign of celebrated chef Alexandre Dumaine. Dumaine took Villas under his wing, for a moment. In Between Bites, Villas recounts his lifelong journey through the culinary world. He examines the importance of meeting and befriending culinary greats such as Alexandre Dumaine, Craig Claiborne, Paul Bocuse, Paula Wolfert, and many more. Villas exposes little known aspects of people in the food industry that everyone thought they knew. His telling of MFK Fisher’s personal instruction on the correct way to vomit is particularly juicy, as are his questionable activities with James Beard in bars in Midtown Manhattan. Villas’ odyssey would be incomplete without the recipes from critical moments of his life. From Coq au Vin with chicken’s blood to his mother’s strawberry preserves, each recipe is simple and produces stellar results. Read this book and experience the culinary revolution witnessed over the past forty years through James Villas’ eyes.

Gabrielle Hamilton
Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a (Reluctant) Chef
Mar 2011
Random House Inc.

Reviews of Gabrielle Hamilton’s bare-bones memoir are splayed across newspapers and magazines, much the way the (reluctant) chef splays her checkered—read: relatable, human—past across the book’s 291 pages. “Triple B”’s best-seller status is no surprise. Not only is the public perpetually hungry for a gritty memoir, but chefs seem to agree that Hamilton hit the tone and spirit of behind-the-burner struggle right on its gnarled head. Emotionally naked, tattooed with kitchen burns and knife scars, Hamilton leaves no stone or past indiscretion unturned on her journey to chefdom. She follows the meandering and unlikely course from a bucolic and bizarre childhood in Eastern Pennsylvania to her first haphazard and short-lived stint in the front of house, and soon after to the kitchen. “And that, just like that, is how a whole life can start,” the Prune chef recalls of her first foray into the back of house. As much storyteller as chef—her other vocational track was writing—Hamilton shares herself with an almost startling openness. What results is not culinary, per se, but a cook’s book and a very human story in the end. Whether or not the public continues to immerse itself in the chef subculture of cuisine, Hamilton succeeds here in proving that a chef isn’t superhuman, subhuman, or even a rock star—even if she can party like one. She’s just a girl who got a job, and kept it.

Brooks Headley with Chris Cechin-De La Rosa
Brooks Headley's Fancy Desserts
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Charlie Trotter
Cooking With Patrick Clark
Mar 2004
Ten Speed Press

In this beautifully designed book, over 50 of America's most notable chefs--including Charlie Trotter, Emeril Lagasse, Jacques Pepin, and Alice Waters--have collaborated to memorialize their fellow chef, Patrick Clark, the best way they know how . . . with good food.

Toby Cecchini
Cosmopolitan : A Bartender's Life
Sep 2003
Random House Audio Publishing Group

This is a memoir of the bartending life structured as a day in the life at Passerby, the bar owned and run by Toby Cecchini. It is, as well, a rich study of human nature—of the sometimes annoying, sometimes outlandish behavior of the human animal under the influence of alcohol, lust, and the sheer desire to bust loose and party. Cosmopolitan: A Bartender's Life is the hip, behind-the-scenes look at the frenzied yet undeniably fun atmosphere of that great establishment—the bar—and Toby Cecchini sheds plenty of light on the hidden corners of what people do when they go out at night.

A World of Family Recipes Tessa Kiros
Falling Cloudberries: A World of Family Recipes
Mar 2009
Andrews McMeel Publishing

For a book that combines the culinary variety of a Finnish, Greek, and Cypriot heritage, an English and South African childhood, and a culinary career spanning Sydney, Tuscany, and Mexico, Tessa Kiros’ Falling Cloudberries is quite neatly assembled and prettily adorned. Part homage to her family’s rich culinary traditions and part testament to the heterogeneity of modern cuisine, Kiros’ book serves the dual purposes of validating the home cooking experience and claiming the flavors of divergent traditions as the rightful experience of a single palette. For the wanderlust gourmet, Falling Cloudberries is a testament to the romance, history, and universality of culinary tradition.

Vikas Khanna
Flavors First: An Indian Chef's Culinary Journey
Jan 2011
Lake Isle Press

Chef Vikas Khanna tread a course from a childhood in Amritsar, India to adulthood as a successful New York chef, part of the vanguard of Indian cuisine in this country. The common link, the tie that binds the cosmopolitan chef to his traditional Indian upbringing, is flavor. And Flavors First is Chef Khanna’s tribute to that—a personal culinary memoir, a guide to the pantry and practices of the regional Indian cuisine that he knew in his youth and brings to his sophisticated cuisine at Junoon. Khanna knows better than most that to master the flavors of Indian cuisine, you have to develop a working familiarity with its vast, colorful array of ingredients, especially the spices. So before he delves into the book's many recipes, Khanna unpacks the Indian spice cabinet, and from there, goes on to elaborate on the many facets of an Indian meal, from chutneys and parathas to Home-Style Lamb Curry (Khanna’s all-time favorite). Woven throughout the book are Khanna’s reflections and recollections—more than worth investigating from a man who literally knit his way into his first catering business (check out page 139). Khanna's input is both practical and emotional, a reflection of the chef and the man—wisdom earned and cherished in a life spent exploring a grand culinary heritage.

Patricia Wells
Food Lover's Guide to Paris, 4th edition
Apr 1999
Workman Publishing Company, Inc.

An inveterate explorer of all things culinary, Patricia Wells brings us the very best of Paris: not only unforgettable evenings in her foolproof selection of restaurants, bistros, and cafes, but the places to find the flakiest croissants, earthiest charcuteries, sublimest cheeses, most knowledgeable wine merchants, gleaming pots and pans, and the holy grail of breads, pain Poilane.

Hi Soo Shin Hepinstall
Growing Up in a Korean Kitchen: A Cookbook
Mar 2004
Ten Speed Press

Part memoir and part cookbook, this is one woman's cultural and culinary story, weaving childhood reminiscences with lovingly gathered recipes. With descriptions of the traditional Korean kitchen, preparations for special feast days, and the rituals of everyday family meals, author Hi Soon Shin Hepinstall draws an engaging portrait of a seldom glimpsed way of life.

Sean Brock
Pino Luongo
La Mia Cucina Toscana : A Tuscan Cooks in America
Oct 2003
Broadway Books

2004 James Beard Award Nominee for Photography; Pino Luongo, prolific and irrepressible restaurateur (Le Madri, Coco Pazzo, Tuscan Square, and Centolire) and author of A Tuscan in the Kitchen and Simply Tuscan, has written a highly personal, completely innovative take on the food of his native region.

Jill DeGroff
Lush Life: Portraits from the Bar
Jan 2010
Mud Puddle Books, New York

Steeped soundly in the culture of the American cocktail scene—now entering the 21st century with a mixed roster of talented, wisecracking, colorful cocktailians—Lush Life is a veritable labor of love, nor simply for being a byproduct of husband and wife Dale and Jill DeGroff’s LA-born romance. The love here is for the people of the cocktail world, and it’s sketched, brushed, and suffused into each of Jill DeGroff’s pictures. And while the book is laid out generationally, Lush Life essentially unites its subjects under the proud patchwork banner of the bartender. A pictorial tour of the beating heart of the American cocktail scene, Lush Life recalls the old school cool of Al Hirschfeld’s “Speakeasies of 1932,” updated with its tech-savvy cast of mixologist up-and-comers and standby old-timers—all of it colored by DeGroff’s inimitable aesthetic eye. DeGroff’s portraits are the beating heart of the book, and they capture the spirit and nuance of this cast of cocktail-slinging characters with visual grace and spry, poetic wit. But lest she leave her reader thirsty, DeGroff includes recipes for favorite and famous drinks, as well as tales from behind the bar and occasional odd remembrances. In the end the whole experience is akin to an evening spent among friends, leaning up against the polished wood of a favorite local bar.

Edited by John Donahue
Man with a Pan: Culinary Adventures of Fathers Who Cook for Their Families
May 2011
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill

A Man with a Pan tells the tales of today’s most masculine culinary celebrities as they’ve never before been seen; a maison and en famille. It’s a compilation of personal essays, interviews, and recipes. And with men at the helm, preparing family dinner becomes a fly-by-night operation, Michael Ruhlman recommends sex before chicken, Mario Batali’s kids rave about duck testicles, and Stephen King commands his readers to cook with their microwaves but “don’t nuke the sh*t out of it!” As a fascinating marker of changing times or as the perfect father’s day gift, A Man with a Pan does it all (much like the fathers it features).

Shoba Narayan
Monsoon Diary : Reveries and Recipes from India
Apr 2004
Random House Inc

2004 James Beard Award Nominee for Writing & Reference; In the tradition of M.F.K. Fisher, Shoba Narayan weaves together a fascinating food narrative that combines delectable Indian recipes with musings about Indian culture, tales from her life, and stories of her delightfully eccentric family. The pages of Monsoon Diary confirm a central truth: Life is lived in the kitchen. In this creative and intimate work, Shoba Narayan's considerable vegetarian cooking talents are matched by stories as varied as Indian spices--at times pungent, mellow, piquant, sweet--about her childhood in South India and her life in the U.S.

Skye Gyngell
My Favorite Ingredients
Feb 2010
Ten Speed Press

A chef would be hard pressed to winnow down a precious few favorite ingredients from among the plenty, but Skye Gygnell of Petersham Nurseries Café has done just that. With My Favorite Ingredients, Gygnell shares her sixteen most beloved ingredients, all seasonal and sustainable, from Asparagus to Vinegar to Honey and, of course, Chocolate. Chef and recipe columnist for the Independent on Sunday, Gygnell takes a few justifiable liberties under certain broader ingredients categories like Leaves, for instance, where she expounds upon the virtues of purslane, escarole, and watercress, among others. But as a w hole the book is a dedication by Gygnell to the roster of products that keep her mouth happy and her kitchen running. Recipes and personal recollections accompany each ingredient, and one feels that Gygnell is not simply making a persuasive point—that these ingredients are deservedly her favorites—but that she is writing a professional’s devotional to the foodstuffs that keep her everyday inspired.

Jancis Robinson
Tasting Pleasure: Confessions of a Wine Lover
May 1999
Penguin Group (USA)

Writing with Julia Child's authority, Elizabeth David's intelligence, and M.F.K. Fisher's verve, Jancis Robinson share her lifelong romance with wine and its attendant pleasures--gastronomic, scenic, cultural, and social.

Anita Naughton; recipes and intro by Nicola Perry
Tea & Sympathy: The Life of an English Tea Shop in New York
Oct 2002
Penguin Group (USA)

In 1990 Nicola Perry, former tea lady at the London Stock Exchange, started living her dream. She found a storefront and opened Tea & Sympathy, an authentic amalgamation of English tea shop, mum's kitchen, and working man's cafe right in the heart of New York. Anita Naughton was one of her first waitresses, and from day one she kept an anecdotal record of the place, encapsulating the charm, flavor, and enigmatic patrons that are the atmosphere of the restaurant. Together they have created a colorful biography spanning the first decade of this landmark eatery. Complete with 60 recipes and photos of food and popular visitors, this is a quintessential taste of England ready to take home.