Mango and Peppercorns: A Memoir of Food, an Unlikely Family, and the American Dream


Tung Nguyen - 2021
    This serendipitous meeting evolved into a decades-long partnership, one that eventually turned strangers into family and a tiny, no-frills eatery into one of the most lauded restaurants in the country.Tung's fierce practicality often clashed with Kathy's free-spirited nature, but over time, they found a harmony in their contrasts—a harmony embodied in the restaurant's signature mango and peppercorns sauce.• IMPORTANT, UNIVERSAL STORY: An inspiring memoir peppered with recipes, it is a riveting read that will appeal to fans of Roy Choi, Ed Lee, Ruth Reichl, and Kwame Onwuachi.• TIMELY TOPIC: This real-life American dream is a welcome reminder of our country's longstanding tradition of welcoming refugees and immigrants. This book adds a touchpoint to that larger conversation, resonating beyond the bookshelf.• INVENTIVE COOKBOOK: This book is taking genre-bending a step further, focusing on the story first and foremost with 20 complementary recipes. Perfect for:• Fans of culinary nonfiction• Fans of Ruth Reichl, Roy Choi, Kwame Onwuachi, and Anya Von Bremzen• Home cooks who are interested in Asian food and cooking

Life From Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness


Sasha Martin - 2015
    As cooking unlocked the memories of her rough-and-tumble childhood and the loss and heartbreak that came with it, Martin became more determined than ever to find peace and elevate her life through the prism of food and world cultures. From the tiny, makeshift kitchen of her eccentric, creative mother to a string of foster homes to the house from which she launches her own cooking adventure, Martin’s heartfelt, brutally honest memoir reveals the power of cooking to bond, to empower, and to heal—and celebrates the simple truth that happiness is created from within.

Roasting in Hell's Kitchen: Temper Tantrums, F Words, and the Pursuit of Perfection


Gordon Ramsay - 2006
    He also dishes the dirt on the rich and famous, and takes you behind the scenes of some of the great restaurants.Honest, outrageous, and intensely personal, Roasting in Hell's Kitchen will not only change your perception of Gordon Ramsay but that of the cutthroat world of haute cuisine as well.

Secrets of the Red Lantern: Stories and Recipes from the Heart


Pauline Nguyen - 2007
    Pauline Nguyen's parents presented these recipes night after night at the highly successful Vietnamese restaurant The Red Lantern, and these were recipes which had been perfected and passed down over many years. The great majority of these recipes are easily achievable, utilising a relatively small range of ingredients; they include such delights as Pho Bo Tai Nam, a beef soup with sawtooth coriander and Vietnamese basil, or pork belly (Thit Ba Roi). All are presented here in a concise and accessible fashion. But recipes are not all that Secrets of the Red Lantern has to offer. This is more than a cookbook: it is a candid and often moving story of Pauline Nguyen's family, beginning with their dangerous escape from Vietnam during the war and their ultimate settling down in Australia. The love of food is something more than a professional necessity for this family: it helped to assuage their home sickness, and even reconciled differences within the family (these personal passages are quite as beguiling as the more practical cookery aspects of the book). Most of all, though, this is a feast of the most tantalising of foreign recipes, burnished with food and personal photography -- and it is the latter which conveys the very individual nature of the food so resplendently on offer here. --Barry Forshaw

JGV: A Life in 12 Recipes


Jean-Georges Vongerichten - 2019
    He didn’t enroll at a top culinary program. He was kicked out of high school at age fifteen. How, then, did he find himself apprenticing with the most renowned chefs, opening restaurants across the world, and cementing his legacy in the New York City food scene?JGV is Vongerichten’s passionate answer, his life and the recipes that moved him. With humor and heart, he opens up as never before, telling the story of his mother’s goose stew, enlivened with a coffee slurry, and of his first taste of tom yum kung soup, served hot at a stand off a Bangkok highway. Every story is full of wisdom, conveyed with the magnanimity and precision that has made this chef’s name.With old handwritten menus and black-and-white photographs throughout, this is a book for young chefs, as well as anyone who has stood at a stove and wondered what might be.

Beaten, Seared, and Sauced: On Becoming a Chef at the Culinary Institute of America


Jonathan Dixon - 2011
    But for those who make the decision, the difference between the dream and reality can be gigantic—especially at the top cooking school in the country. For the first time in the Culinary Institute of America’s history, a book will give readers the firsthand experience of being a full-time student facing all of the challenges of the legendary course in its entirety.On the eve of his thirty-eighth birthday and after shuffling through a series of unsatisfying jobs, Jonathan Dixon enrolled in the CIA (on a scholarship) to pursue his passion for cooking. In Beaten, Seared, and Sauced he tells hilarious and harrowing stories of life at the CIA as he and his classmates navigate the institution’s many rules and customs under the watchful and critical eyes of their instructors. Each part of the curriculum is covered, from knife skills and stock making to the high-pressure cooking tests and the daunting wine course (the undoing of many a student). Dixon also details his externship in the kitchen of Danny Meyer’s Tabla, giving readers a look into the inner workings of a celebrated New York City restaurant. With the benefit of his age to give perspective to his experience, Dixon delivers a gripping day-to-day chronicle of his transformation from amateur to professional. From the daily tongue-lashings in class to learning the ropes—fast—at a top NYC kitchen, Beaten, Seared, and Sauced is a fascinating and intimate first-person view of one of America’s most famous culinary institutions and one of the world’s most coveted jobs.

Cooking as Fast as I Can: A Chef's Story of Family, Food, and Forgiveness


Cat Cora - 2015
    Her passion for the kitchen started in her home, where she spent her days internalizing the dishes that would form the cornerstone of her cooking philosophy incorporating her Greek heritage and Southern upbringing—from crispy fried chicken and honey-drenched biscuits to spanakopita. But outside the kitchen, Cat’s life was volatile.In Cooking as Fast as I Can, Cat Cora reveals, for the first time, coming-of-age experiences from early childhood sexual abuse to the realities of life as a lesbian in the deep South. She shares how she found her passion in the kitchen and went on to attend the prestigious Culinary Institute of America and apprentice under Michelin star chefs in France. After her big break as a co-host on the Food Network’s Melting Pot, Cat broke barriers by becoming the first-ever female Iron Chef.Cooking as Fast as I Can chronicles the difficulties and triumphs Cora experienced on the path to becoming a chef. She writes movingly about how she found courage and redemption in the dark truths of her past and about how she found solace in the kitchen and work, how her passion for cooking helped her to overcome hardships and ultimately find happiness at home and became a wife and a mother to four boys. Above all, this is an utterly engrossing story about the grit and grace it takes to achieve your dreams.

Rosemary and Bitter Oranges: Growing Up in a Tuscan Kitchen


Patrizia Chen - 2003
    Her family's house and sumptuous garden in the Italian seaside town of Livorno are at the center of this captivating book that weaves together simple, delicious recipes with a love of home, family, nature, custom, and, above all, food. The family cook, Emilia, a feisty, temperamental woman from a nearby fishing village, dutifully produces bland white dishes for every family meal, as dictated by Patrizia's grandfather. But behind the kitchen door it's a different story. One day seven-year-old Patrizia is led by a wonderful smell into the kitchen, where Emilia is preparing a spicy red sauce bursting with garlic and onion. With one bite, Patrizia becomes hooked. In the spacious, sun-drenched kitchen and adjoining herb garden, Emilia takes Patrizia under her wing, disclosing the secrets of her favorite Tuscan dishes.Through vivid descriptions and charming anecdotes, Chen brings to life the white Carrara marble terraces, the coal-burning stoves, antique roses, and sacks of chestnut flour that fill the family house, kitchen, and garden. This delightful and evocative narrative will welcome you into the heart of Patrizia's Tuscan home and allow you to bring the robust flavors of Emilia's cooking into your own kitchen.

Apricots on the Nile: A Memoir with Recipes


Colette Rossant - 1999
    From the moment she arrives at her grandparents' belle époque mansion by the Nile, the five-year-old Colette finds companionship and comfort among the other "outsiders" in her home away from home -- the cooks and servants in the kitchen. The chef, Ahmet, lets Colette taste the ful; she learns how to make sambusaks for her new friends; and she shops for semits and other treats in the Khan-al-Khalili market. Colette is beginning to understand how her family's culture is linked to the kitchen...and soon she will claim Egypt's food, landscape, and people as her own. Apricots on the Nile is a loving testament to Colette's adopted homeland. With dozens of original recipes and family photographs, Colette's coming-of-age memoir is a splendid exploration of old Cairo in all its flavor, variety, and wide-eyed wonder.

The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen


Jacques Pépin - 2003
    Soon Jacques is caught up in the hurly-burly action of his mother's café, where he proves a natural. He endures a literal trial by fire and works his way up the ladder in the feudal system of France's most famous restaurant, finally becoming Charles de Gaulle's personal chef, watching the world being refashioned from the other side of the kitchen door.When he comes to America, Jacques immediately falls in with a small group of as-yet-unknown food lovers, including Craig Claiborne, James Beard, and Julia Child, whose adventures redefine American food. Through it all, Jacques proves himself to be a master of the American art of reinvention: earning a graduate degree from Columbia University, turning down a job as John F. Kennedy's chef to work at Howard Johnson's, and, after a near-fatal car accident, switching careers once again to become a charismatic leader in the revolution that changed the way Americans approached food. Included as well are approximately forty all-time favorite recipes created during the course of a career spanning nearly half a century, from his mother's utterly simple cheese soufflé to his wife's pork ribs and red beans.The Apprentice is the poignant and sometimes funny tale of a boy's coming of age. Beyond that, it is the story of America's culinary awakening and the transformation of food from an afterthought to a national preoccupation.

Confections of a Closet Master Baker: One Woman's Sweet Journey from Unhappy Hollywood Executive to Contented Country Baker


Gesine Bullock-Prado - 2009
    The only solace she found was in her secret hobby: baking. With every sugary, buttery confection to emerge from her oven, Gesine took one step away from her glittery, empty existence—and one step closer to her true destiny. Before long, she and her husband left the trappings of their Hollywood lifestyle behind, ending up in Vermont, where they started the gem known as Gesine Confectionary. And they never looked back. Confections of a Closet Master Baker follows Gesine's journey from sugar-obsessed child to miserable, awkward Hollywood insider to reluctant master baker. Chock-full of eccentric characters, beautifully detailed descriptions of her baking process, ceaselessly funny renditions of Hollywood nonsense, and recipes, the ingredients of her story will appeal to anyone who has ever considered leaving the life they know and completely starting over.

Memoir of the Sunday Brunch


Julia Pandl - 2012
    At age twelve, Julie was initiated into the rite of the Sunday brunch, a weekly madhouse at her father's Milwaukee-based restaurant, where she and her eight older siblings before her did service in a situation of controlled chaos, learning the ropes of the family business and, more important, learning life lessons that would shape them for all the years to come. In her wry memoir, she looks back on those formative years, a time not just of growing up but, ultimately, of becoming a source of strength and support as the world her father knew began to change into a tougher, less welcoming place. Part coming-of-age story à la The Tender Bar, part window into the mysteries of the restaurant business à la Kitchen Confidential, Julie Pandl provides tender wisdom about the bonds between fathers and daughters and about the simple pleasures that lie in the daily ritual of breaking bread. This honest and exuberant memoir marks the debut of a writer who discovers that humor exists in even the smallest details of our lives and that the biggest moments we ever experience can happen behind the pancake station at the Sunday brunch.

Maman's Homesick Pie: A Persian Heart in an American Kitchen


Donia Bijan - 2011
    In 1978, when the Islamic revolution in Iran threatened their safety, they fled to California's Bay Area, where the familiar flavors of Bijan's mother's cooking formed a bridge to the life they left behind. Now, through the prism of food, award-winning chef Donia Bijan unwinds her own story, finding that at the heart of it all is her mother, whose love and support enabled Bijan to realize her dreams. From the Persian world of her youth to the American life she embraced as a teenager to her years at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris (studying under the infamous Madame Brassart) to apprenticeships in France's three-star kitchens and finally back to San Francisco, where she opened her own celebrated bistro, Bijan evokes a vibrant kaleidoscope of cultures and cuisines. And she shares thirty inspired recipes from her childhood (Saffron Yogurt Rice with Chicken and Eggplant and Orange Cardamom Cookies), her French training (Ratatouille with Black Olives and Fried Bread and Purple Plum Skillet Tart), and her cooking career (Roast Duck Legs with Dates and Warm Lentil Salad and Rose Petal Ice Cream). An exhilarating, heartfelt memoir, Maman's Homesick Pie is also a reminder of the women who encourage us to shine.

The Raging Skillet: The True Life Story of Chef Rossi


Chef Rossi - 2015
    Within the confines of this restrictive culture, Rossi's big city dreams take root. Once she makes her way to Manhattan, Rossi's passion for cooking, which first began as a revolt against the microwave, becomes her life mission.The Raging Skillet is one woman's story of cooking her way through some of the most unlikely kitchens in New York City—at a "beach" in Tribeca, an East Village supper club, and a makeshift grill at ground zero in the days immediately following 9/11. Forever writing her own rules, Rossi ends up becoming the owner of one of the most sought-after catering companies in the city. This heartfelt, gritty, and hilarious memoir shows us how the creativity of the kitchen allows us to give a nod to where we come from, while simultaneously expressing everything that we are. Includes unpretentious recipes for real people everywhere.

A Pig in Provence: Good Food and Simple Pleasures in the South of France


Georgeanne Brennan - 2007
    Thirty years ago, James Beard Award-winning author Georgeanne Brennan set out to realize the dream of a peaceful, rural existence en Provence. She and her husband, with their young daughter in tow, bought a small farmhouse with a little land, and a few goats and pigs and so began a life-affirming journey. Filled with delicious recipes and local color, this evocative and passionate memoir describes her life cooking and living in the Provenal tradition. An entrancing tale that will whet the appetite and the spirit. Perfect for foodies, Francophiles, or anyone who's dreamed of packing their bags and buying a ticket to the good life.