Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page

Culinary Artistry

Dining Out

Chef's Night Out

Becoming a Chef

The New American Chef

What to Drink with What You Eat

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When we were researching our first book BECOMING A CHEF, we asked more than 60 of America's leading chefs about their favorite culinary books — the ones they'd most recommend to aspiring chefs. Based on their responses, we compiled a list of 20 of the most frequently recommended books and authors.

So, after reading Becoming a Chef, Culinary Artistry, Dining Out, Chef's Night Out, The New American Chef, and What to Drink with What You Eat, you'll have a great sense of where to begin to expand your culinary knowledge and appreciation:

Escoffier's Le Guide Culinaire

"When we were young chefs, we were almost forced by our chef to read Escoffier. To me, it's the basics. We should not forget these things. The danger is...that young chefs [will] follow the trends without knowing the classics. And then when the trend changes, they are stuck. You need this basic training, and then you can do anything you wish. " 

— Andre Soltner

Larousse Gastronomique

"[When first entering the profession), every night I would read heavy-duty stuff like Larousse. I would just read and read and read and try to understand what it meant. When you don't know about food, you look at something like Larousse and think that it's pretty bizarre that people thought about food like this."

— Charles Palmer

Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking

“It is a classic.”

— Emily Luchetti

Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker's Joy of Cooking

“Joy of Cooking is great because it gives you what you need to know—then you can turn it upside down and make it your own.”

— Emily Luchetti


Elizabeth David's Classics, e.g.

Book of Mediterranean Food, French Provincial Cooking, Italian Food

James Beard's American Cookery

"Oh, I love James, just to read. One of my favorite books of his has one chapter about Thanksgiving, and another about Christmas. He tells about his childhood and why his mother liked crab and not lobster, and her plum pudding recipe. I mean, I could read that over and over and over and over. "

— Lydia Shire

Alice Waters' Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook

Anything by Paula Wolfert -- especially World of Food

Richard Olney's French Menu Cookbook or Simple French Food

Craig Claiborne's The New York Times Cookbook

"That was my bible when I was growing up."

— Mark Miller

Ali-Bab's Encyclopedia of Practical Gastronomy

"The best book ever written."

— Michel Richard

Anything by Paul Bocuse — especially Regional French Cooking

The Professional Chef


— Ed Brown

Madeline Kamman's The Making of a Cook and In Madeleine's Kitchen: A Personal Interpretation of the Modern French Cuisine

Fernand Point's Ma Gastronomie

"It has really no recipes in it, but has a lot of sayings and quotes. He's very fanatical about butter and about life, and about throwing people out of his restaurants when they lit up cigarettes. This was in the '50s that he did all this stuff. He was the man who trained Bocuse, the Troisgros brothers, Alain Chapel — they all came from Point. Almost all the great chefs of France came from Point. He's very inspiring and old-fashioned and funny. It's a wonderful book. It's probably out of print, so if you see it, grab it." — Jasper White

Time-Life Books' Food of the World (1968-70) and American Cooking (1970-71) series

Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

Georges Blanc's The Natural Cuisine of G. Blanc and Ma Cuisine des Saisons

Simply French: Patricia Wells Presents the Cuisine of Joλl Robuchon by Patricia Wells and Joλl Robuchon

The Auberge of the Flowering Hearth by Roy Andries de Groot

"I think everyone should have to read Auberge of the Flowering Hearth the moment that they say they're interested in a culinary career, because it identifies the concept and the potential of a mystical, spiritual experience happening in relation to the dining experience." 

— Patrick O'Connell

Prospective students at The Culinary Institute of America are advised to read a dozen books, which you can find by clicking here.



Our interests and passions extend beyond the realm of food and wine — and we're happy to recommend some of the best books we've read on a variety of subjects:

We congratulate our friend Stephanie Winston on her new must-read book Organized for Success: Top Executives and CEOs Reveal the Organizing Principles That Helped Them Reach the Top, which is being published by Crown Business this month. It promises to be yet another bestseller for this New York Times bestselling author!

What if the power of a single wish could change your life?  It can — if you know how to use it to harness energy within and all around you that you never knew existed!  This is the promise of our friend Laura Day's book The Circle.  Among Laura's other fans are a wide range of professionals in many fields, including Deepak Chopra, Nicole Kidman, Brad Pitt, and Nobel laureate Dr. James Watson, who all admire her ability to teach intuition (also detailed in her bestselling book Practical Intuition).  Laura is an extraordinary woman, and these are two extraordinary books.

While we're on the topic of extraordinary people and books, anyone interested in learning how to increase their energy and channel it into peak performance couldn't do better than to pick up the book of our friend Tony Schwartz, co-authored with renowned sports psychologist Jim Loehr:  The Power of Full Engagement.  (You might have already seen it on the New York Times bestseller list, or even on "Oprah.")  It's a must-have book for those looking to get the most out of their lives.

In another friend's book — Court TV anchor Rikki Klieman's Fairy Tales Can Come True — you can even read about us!  But you'll want to buy it for the inspiration provided by this wonderful memoir of a smart, savvy woman once named one of the top five women trial lawyers in America, according to Time magazine, and now married to Los Angeles' Chief of Police Bill Bratton.  (And Bill's own New York Times Notable Book of the Year Turnaround tells how America's top cop reversed the crime epidemic when he served as New York's Police Commissioner.)  Read about Rikki's recent keynote address at Northwestern University — and what Karen had to say about Rikki — in The Daily Northwestern.

If you're a woman looking for inspiration from dozens of America's most successful women, pick up a copy of Secrets of Six-Figure Women by Barbara Stanny.  It's packed with information and inspiration to help you along your way, and even includes advice from Karen (as well as the aforementioned Rikki Klieman).

In the job market, in any field?  Have no fear:  Work It! by Allison Hemming can provide you with insider advice to help you identify opportunities, market yourself, and negotiate your compensation.  It even includes a "baker's dozen" of Karen's best networking tips in the sidebar "Develop Your Network" on pages 51-53.

Get smart:  While you're waiting FOR Michael Gelb's book More Balls Than Hands (in which Karen is quoted), you can improve your mind by reading his two previous bestsellers:  How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci and Discover Your Genius

Speaking of geniuses, it's well-known that we're huge admirers of the work of Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (currently of the Claremont Graduate School in California, and formely of the University of Chicago), author of the best-selling book Flow.  In fact, his analysis of the creative process, based on his research on the creative lives of exceptional people, in his landmark book Creativity inspired our trilogy Becoming a Chef, Culinary Artistry and Dining Out.

And yes, we have a few culinary books among our favorites, too. 

In fact, we provided the following back-cover endorsement for Marcel Desaulniers' decadent cookbook Celebrate with Chocolate:  "Marcel Desaulniers has done it again!  Celebrate with Chocolate is the latest addition to his collection of extraordinary, not-to-be-missed cookbooks for chocolate lovers everywhere.  Is he a madman or a genius with chocolate?  Probably both, but we don't care!  'Over the top' is the only way we want our chocolate.  With recipes like Bob's Big-Ass Chocolate Brown Sugar and Bourbon Birthday Cake and Woozy Chocolate Brioche French Toast with Oozy Chocolate Maple Syrup, Marcel's characteristic sense of whimsy, detailed instructions, and decadent chocolate flavor shine through.  This book is destined to become every chef's secret weapon when a spectacular Death by Chocolate finish is called for!"

We also blurbed the Ozcan Ozan's mouth-watering Sultan's Kitchen:  A Turkish Cookbook "Sultan's Kitchen is one of our favorite restaurants in Boston.  This wonderful book is not only a delight for fans of Turkish food, but for anyone with a curiosity about how passionate chefs are able to coax exquisite flavors out of simple and pure ingredients."

Looking for an out-of-print book, or want to browse through the best collection of culinary books in New York City?  Don't miss KITCHEN ARTS AND LETTERS, 1435 Lexington Ave. (near 94th St.).  Owner Nach Waxman and his able staff can be reached at (212) 876-5550 or at

Click here for A Recent History of Books for Chefs and Cooks.

culinary artistry, dining out, chef's night out, becoming a chef
The New American Chef
I was in the San Francisco bookstore A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books during a lunch break from jury duty when a youngish man asked one of the store employees about a particular book.   I always eavesdrop in the store, because the store employees are avid book readers with really good and insightful recommendations. The book in question had to do with the restaurant business (as the California Culinary Academy is nearby, perhaps the customer was a student).  The bookstore employee answered the specific question and then said, 'Have you read Dornenburg and Page's books?  They are the best there are for the restaurant industry.  I love their books.'  At that point, another woman chimed in, 'Did they write the book CHEF'S NIGHT OUT?'   And the store employee said, 'Oh, yes — everyone has that.  But read this book — it's their best,' pulling down CULINARY ARTISTRY from the shelf.  In any event, it was a breathtaking moment of pure admiration, and I thought you should know about it.
Terri Dial, President and CEO, Wells Fargo Bank

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