Main Kitchen Chef
My Personal Top 5 Recommended Culinary Books
I often can be seen walking the grounds of The Broadmoor heading to a lunch or dinner function. One question I find guests often stop and ask me is what my favorite cookbook is. I wanted to take this time to share my top five recommended culinary books. Now, not all of these books are cookbooks and certainly every chef has their own personal favorites and preferences. I find these five to be the books I personally reference the most for research, recipes, inspiration and knowledge.
#1. The Professional Chef, The Culinary Institute of America
The Professional Chef, The Culinary Institute of America
I may be giving my alma mater a plug here, but this book better known as the “ProChef” is an in-depth book of reference, and recipes. There are many different editions of this book. My personal favorite is the seventh edition, though I personally have five different editions.
Not making the list here due to the fact I am not a professional baker or pastry chef but worth mentioning are Baking and Pastry, Mastering the Art and Craft, The Culinary Institute of America and Chocolates & Confections, Formula, Theory, and Technique for the Artisan Confectioner, Peter P. Greweling, CMB, The Culinary Institute of America.
All three of these books, I simply can’t even imagine not having in my collection. If you ever wanted to send homemade chocolates to friends or family for the holidays, a trip to a local craft store and Peter P. Grewelings book on chocolates and confections will take you every delicious step of the way.
# 2. Culinary Artistry, Andrew Dornenburg
I use this one mainly for reference when writing menus. It contains great information on the seasonality of ingredients. Cooking foods in their peak growing season will always produce the best results, hence why chefs highly consider growing seasons when writing menus. This one is a must have for any cook in my opinion. Be careful as different regions of the world can have different growing seasons but I find this book to be a safe guideline and one I keep close by.
#3. Le Guide Culinaire, Escoffier
Le Guide Culinaire, Escoffier
This particular book is a must have for any serious professional chef. It can be very expensive depending on language, edition, and condition. I personally have the first American edition. This book I reference over a dozen times in any given week, and it is worth every penny. The Broadmoor even features an annual event to honor Escoffier.
# 4. Grand Livre de Cuisine, Alain Ducasse’s Culinary Encyclopedia.
Grand Livre de Cuisine, Alain Ducasse
I received this book as a gift from my mentor and teacher years ago, so I have a personal connection with this one. I love this book; it takes you A to Z thru ingredients. I use this book mainly for reference and inspiration. Many chefs have their own culinary libraries and this book I often see in their collections as well. It may be a bit advanced at times, but if you’re looking to impress some dinner guest I would pick this book up.
# 5. On Food And Cooking, The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, Harold McGee
If you ever wanted to the science behind foods and cooking this is the book. It’s extremely fascinating for any serious foodie. I have mainly only used this book for research, but having a better understanding of the science behind food and cooking has changed some of the ways I have thought about many ingredients and cooking procedures, and is why it made the final spot on the list.
There are so many great culinary books out there it was not easy to narrow down my top five. I find these five books are the ones I keep close by and find myself picking up often. My best advice when picking out cookbooks is know your skill level and find one you’re comfortable with. Always try choosing recipes using ingredients that are in peak growing season and have fun.
To answer the question of my favorite cookbook, I simply haven’t had the time to write it yet.
Chef Aaron Haga, CCC