Our pick of the best books for aspiring chefs

These are the best culinary books for any aspiring chef. Discover books ranging from cookbooks to food memoirs that you can enjoy wrapped up on the sofa.
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Olivia Higgs
Nov 24
3 mins
Nov 24
3 mins

It's November, which means it's a time for enjoying the coziness of the indoors. If you're looking to make the move from home cook to aspiring professional chef, we've got you covered. Here's our collection of good reads, from cookbooks to food memoirs that you can enjoy wrapped up on the sofa. We'll start off with the fundamentals of cooking and end with culinary inspiration.

1. "The Science of Spice: Understand Flavour Connections and Revolutionize your Cooking" by Dr. Stuart Farrimond

If you're looking to spice up your cooking this is the book for you. Taking the periodic table of spices as a starting point, this adventurous recipe book explores the science behind the art of making spice blends. Understand the history behind why countries use some spices over others and learn new spice blends and how to use them in recipes. It also covers some of the more science-y stuff with a reference guide for looking up each spice, color-coded charts to help you learn the chemical compound that make up the flavors and instructions for how to design your own spice blends.

The Science of Spice by Dr Stuart Farrimond

2. "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking" by Samin Nosrat

There's a reason why chef Samin Nosrat's Netflix food series was so popular and her cookbook equally doesn't disappoint. Samin goes beyond the recipe and deep into the art of cooking. Rather than blindly following a set of instructions, you're learning the hows and the why's of cooking - by learning the four key elements. This book is ideal if you want to take that first step away from the recipe.

3. "Why We Cook: Women on Food, Identity, and Connection" by Lindsay Gardner

This book is a conversation with more than one hundred women restaurateurs, activists, food writers, home cooks, and professional chefs. It's packed with cooking advice, essays, recipes, and a guide for how food can is used to fight for justice. Not only that, but you'll probably find yourself getting lost in the beautiful illustrations.

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4. "Today's Special: 20 Leading Chefs Choose 100 Emerging Chefs" by Phaidon Editors

If you're looking for new food inspiration this book is bursting with fresh talent shaking up the global culinary scene. You'll find plenty of recipes, chef profiles, menus and food essays to help you discover what makes these emerging chefs standout on the global stage. You'll meet: Jeremy Chan of Nigeria-inspired Ikoyi London; Toyomitsu Nakayama of Toyo, Tokyo, Japan; Afro-fusion chef Dieuviel Malonga; Manoella Buffara of Brazil; and Slovenian chef Luka Košir - to name a few!

5. "The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen" by Sean Sherman with Beth Dooley

This cookbook will give you an introduction to the modern indigenous cuisine of the Dakota and Minnesota territories. You'll benefit from the wisdom of Sean Sherman, the Oglala Lakota chef and founder of The Sioux Chef. He dispels outdated notions of Native American fare; no fry bread, dairy products, or sugar here. Instead, you'll find healthy dishes using venison, duck, blueberries, sage, amaranth, and wildflowers.

Mamushka by Olia Hercules

6. "Mamushka: Recipes from Ukraine & Beyond" by Olia Hercules

Ukrainian chef Olia Hercules takes you on a tour of the "Wild East" through flavor. Explore recipes from the Black Sea to Baku and Armenia to Azerbaijan. From Ukrainian buns with potatoes & shallots to Garlicky Georgian poussins with spicy plum chutney. And why not finish off, with Apricot & sour cherry pie and a Blackcurrant vodka?

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