Writing a cookbook is the chef’s equivalent of moving to the suburbs — it’s just what you do now. The unfortunate truth is that most cookbooks are devoid of original recipes, and chefs’ general apathy toward the genre is masked by filtered photography and big-name endorsements. But every once in a while, one will challenge us to cook out of our comfort zone, try a new ingredient or discover a foreign culture. These are the year’s new cookbooks that stand above the rest.
The Naked Cookbook
Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef-turned-blogger Tess Ward has a simple but important message: if you eat better, you’ll feel better. Though they do not follow specific dietary restrictions, the recipes in The Naked Cookbook are naturally low in carbs and free of processed foods and refined sugars.
Author: Tess Ward
Recipe to Try: “Calamari with Chile, Lemon and Celery Salt” (Page 60)
Tokyo Cult Recipes
Even if you can’t afford a roundtrip ticket to Tokyo, you can still explore the gastronomic capital. Crack open Tokyo Cult Recipes, which is rich with street photography and a large collection of original recipes, ranging from street specialties, such as udon and yakitori, to home staples, including gyoza dumplings and nikujaga (a sweet and hearty beef stew).
Author: Maori Murota
Recipe to Try: “Oyako Don: Rice Bowl with Chicken and Omelette” (Page 56)
Chef Floyd Cardoz is celebrated for his victory on Top Chef Masters and for his growing portfolio of Indian restaurants in New York City and Mumbai (his hometown). Flavorwalla shows Cardoz’s breadth of skill across the international culinary landscape, with easy and accessible recipes, including Mexican corn on the cob, chicken tangine and braised short ribs.
Author: Floyd Cardoz
Recipe to Try: “Shrimp Curry with Cauliflower” (Page 142)
The Basque Book
Though Spain’s culinary traditions are diverse, perhaps no region is more internationally celebrated than the Basque Country, renown for its simple flavors and techniques. The Basque Book comes from Alex Raij and Eder Montero of Txikito in New York City, which has won the admiration of the city’s best chefs. The dishes that follow are rich in “flavor but also in feeling,” writes Blue Hill’s Dan Barber.
Author: Alexandra Raiji, Eder Montero and Rebecca Flint Mark
Recipe to Try: “Cider House-Style Prime Dry-Aged Rib-Eye Steak” (Page 223)
Rome is an ancient city, famous for its sights but beloved for its food. Tasting Rome guides readers through the backstreets of the Italian capital in search of the best eats, with helpful recipes along the way that cover both street food and regional specialties, including the unofficial dish of 2016, cacio e pepe.
Author: Katie Parla and Kristina Gill (Foreword by Mario Batali)
Recipe to Try: “Cacio e Pepe di Leonardo Vignoli” (Page 74)
Around the Fire
Portland’s Ox Restaurant brings together the culinary cultures of Spain, France, Italy and Argentina with a central theme: wood-fire grilling. Around the Fire collects the recipes from the restaurant’s kitchen, covering everything from meat to seafood to veggies.
Author: Greg Denton, Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton and Stacy Adimando
Recipe to Try: “Grilled Halibut on the Bone” (Page 133)
Nanban: Japanese Soul Food
Soul food extends beyond Southern fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and collard greens; every culture in the world has its go-to comfort dishes. MasterChef winner and longtime lover of Japanese culture and cuisine Tim Anderson covers that country’s basics in Nanban, with recipes on everything from breaded pork cutlets to soft serve to ramen.
Author: Tim Anderson
Recipe to Try: “Kara-age: Japanese Fried Chicken” (Page 64)
An: To Eat
Known for her fusion-style California restaurant, Crustacean Beverly Hills, Helene An teams up with her daughter Jacqueline to tell their family story of Vietnamese cooking through 100 home recipes, including oven-roasted lemongrass chicken, beef pho and slow-roasted pork shoulder.
Author: Helen An and Jacqueline An
Recipe to Try: “Oven-Roasted Lemongrass Chicken” (Page 56)
Studio Olafur Eliasson: The Kitchen
Olafur Eliasson is perhaps best known for his 2008 public installation called New York City Waterfalls. But to his team of colleagues and apprentices, the Berlin-based artist is also recognized as a firm believer of mindful eating, exemplified by the family-style lunch cooked by his studio’s staffed kitchen. Studio Olafur Eliasson: The Kitchen examines the studio’s eating habits through 100 vegetarian recipes, each with measurements for both small and large parties.
Author: Olafur Eliasson (Foreword by Alice Waters)
Recipe to Try: “Lasagna with Eggplant and Chard” (Page 61)