A Splash of Humor and a Dash of Asshole

Culinary Bibles: 5 Non-Cookbooks Every Cook Must Own

1. “Culinary Artistry” by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page

This book is a must have reference material in any chefs arsenal.  It comes in handy every time I am working on new menu items or specials. The format of the book is an alphabetical listing of ingredients with a group of complementing flavors listed for each. It also contains various tasting menus and individual dishes from the nations top chefs.

2. “Kitchen Confidential” by Anthony Bourdain

This is the book that started it all. It brought kitchen life out of the restaurant and into the mainstream. It glorified 10 to 12 hour days in hot kitchens.  This is the book cooks read and enjoy, as well as the book you make your girlfriend read so that she may better understand what you are passionate about.  Bourdain does such an amazing job at capturing what life is like as a cook, while at the same time explaining it in a way that most people can understand.

3. “The Devil in the Kitchen” by Marco Pierre White

A great account of the career of the hardest working chef of all time. Marco Pierre White is a God among cooks everywhere.  The book contains stories of his early years coming up in the industry as well as his extreme sacrifice to get 3 michelin stars. It’s inspiring to read about his level of dedication and passion for food. He kicked pain in the ass diners out of his restaurant, which is what we all wish we were able to do on many occasions throughout our careers. He is such an inspiration and this book will explain why.

4. “Service Included” by Phoebe Damrosch

This book can best be summed up as a memoir of a server during the opening of Thomas Keller’s Per Se in New York.  It is fascinating to read about everything from why there are neither music or artwork in the dining room, to how the waitstaff are trained.  She tells stories of V.I.P. tables, wine tasting with master sommeliers and even meeting the Chef himself. The stories family meals at Per Se will blow your mind.

5. “On Food and Cooking” by Harold McGee

This book is THE book that anyone interested in food must own. It explains everything from why ingredients do certain things when cooked, to why alcohol makes you drunk. It will answer pretty much any question anyone could have about cooking. It is the perfect book to turn to when a recipe just isn’t working or if you’re just looking to improve an existing recipe. It is the bible to anyone with hot pans and sharp knives!

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One response

  1. nck

    Kitchen Confidential?? Really???? Youre kidding, right? All that book showed was that not all chefs that are drunks and addicts are stupid. That book told me NOTHING new about the biz I didn’t already know. Strictly for the non cooks.

    Oh, and Anthony…..can you go ONE….JUST ONE…..episode without telling me what a big, BIG, cool ass partier I used to be? It doesn’t impress….AT ALL.

    March 15, 2011 at 7:52 pm

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