Christmas is on its way and with it the perfect excuse to round up the best food books and cookbooks, deserving of a place under the tree this year.
As usual, we've scoured the bookshelves for the most iconic, insightful and delicious books to amuse, satisfy and inspire ambitious home chefs and the most demanding of food enthusiasts.
With that in mind, here's our round up of eclectic food books from the past year, from food books for thinkers, to food books for adventurous home cooks. Here's what to wrap up this year.
Food Books for Christmas 2020
Fäviken: 4015 Days, Beginning to End
For fans who lamented the shuttering of Magnus Nilsson's remote Fäviken restaurant, the Swedish chef's new book is the perfect salve. In an ode to his extraordinary restaurant, Nilsson gives an insightful, candid and thought-provoking through-the-keyhole account of its evolution, and his eventual decision to close. Nilsson also gives a valuable examination of the restaurant industry, sharing some important lessons that he learned along the way, which land at a more poignant time than ever.
Bo Bech’s latest book gives an up-close and personal invitation to take a glimpse at the travelling Danish chef's soul. It's a collection of writings, photography and recipes, in which he captures and shares his ‘peak experiences’. A fascinating book from a chef with a profound outlook.
Fifteen years after opening his two-Michelin-star pub, The Hand and Flowers, in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, Tom Kerridge, the UK's greatest pub chef, celebrates with a new cookbook. There's plenty keep the home cook busy, with 70 of the pub's best dishes to try out, including Great British Menu-winners roast hog with salt-baked potatoes and apple sauce, and other classics like smoked haddock omelette and salt cod Scotch egg with red pepper sauce and picante chorizo. The perfect winter companion.
Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, & Shape Our Futures Merlin Sheldrake
Curious foodies need look no further than a copy of Entangled Life, where they'll enjoy a profound exploration of the world from a fungal point of view in the expert hands of young biologist Merlin Sheldrake. From yeast to psychedelics, Sheldrake offers a mind-bending rabbit hole into the incredible underground world of fungi.
What is Cooking - The Action: Cooking, The Result: Cuisine
Those with a serious bookshelf will want to make space for this groundbreaking new book from the legendary Spanish chef Ferran Adrià. As the food genius tries to better understand the evolution and relationship between the human race and the process of preparing food, he takes fans on a journey exploring gastronomy from the top-down. From the birth of cuisine, to why we cook, what it means to cook creatively and the language we have attributed to cooking, this is one for the food philosopher.
Chef and activist JP McMahon, from Michelin-star restaurant Aniar in Galway and founder of Food On The Edge, has penned the definitive Irish cookbook grounded in extensive research. From lamb hot pot to seafood chowder, his round up of hearty recipes rooted in history and culture will be sure to keep you warm this winter.
Part memoir, part text book, celebrity chef Chang's new book Eat a Peach gives an intimate account of navigating success, and failure, after nearly two decades in the profession. A must-read for Chang fans, industry professionals, and anyone wanting to learn more about what makes one of the most influential chefs of his generation tick.
Rage Baking: The Transformative Power of Flour, Sugar and Women's Voices
Katherine Alford and Kathy Gunst
Lockdown ignited a baking passion in many, and in this collection of recipes from women with powerful stories to tell, Katherine Alford and Kathy Gunst, give us even more reasons to bake. Take your pick of bakes, and while they're rising, dip into some of the fascinating stories of the women behind them.
The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food
Marcus Samuelsson, chef, author, and television star, has a new cookbook out this year, co-authored with Osayi Endolyn. It offers up a beautifully curated selection of 150 recipes which have shaped Black American cuisine, and continue to do so focusing on the food through the lens of culture, history and diversity.
The Uncertainty Mindset: Innovation Insights from the Frontiers of Food
As a turbulent and challenging year closes, where we've seen restaurateurs and chefs shutter, pivot, change and adapt, professor Vaughn Tan's new book on adapting to change makes sense now more than ever. It's a must-read for anyone in the industry, but also anyone seeking to innovate "to become more resilient, innovative, and adaptable—by simply changing how they think about the future.”
No Christmas would be complete without an Ottolenghi cookbook to add to the growing collection. His new book Flavour breaks down the fundamentals of cooking into three key elements: process, pairing, and produce, and unlocks new depths of flavour in low-effort punchy dishes like stuffed eggplant in curry and coconut dal, and spicy mushroom lasagne.
The French Laundry, Per Se
Legendary US chef Thomas Keller's new book The French Laundry, Per Se is not so much a cookbook but rather a presentation of two three-Michelin-star restaurants’ culture and philosophy. “What’s important about this cookbook is the philosophy and culture, some of the underlying recipes,” says Keller. “Not just the compositions as you see them, but how to brine something, how to cure something, how to make an aioli, all these different techniques are fundamental." Home cooks needn't be scared off, Keller has something for all here, from the seasoned professional to the occasional enthusiast.