12 Best Cookbooks by Chefs

By Sophie Gayot

Our Exclusive Video Cookbook Interviews

Since we like to cook — and we hope you do, too — we took the time to sit with some big names in the business to peruse the pages of their cookbooks.

Bon Appétit!

> After you watch these exclusive interviews, be sure to check out our Must-Read Cookbooks for classic recipes.

1. Home Cooking | Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten

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Publisher: Clarkson Potter
Originally Published: 2011

Even if you don’t have the chance to dine at chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s NYC restaurant Jean-Georges, which has been on GAYOT’s Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S. since the inception of the list, you can still eat Jean-Georges’s cuisine, in the comfort of your own home, with his “casual” cookbook.

Home Cooking with Jean-Georges contains recipes for each meal of the day, including cocktails such as a ginger margarita. There are many photos throughout that help you prepare what Jean-Georges calls “my favorite simple recipes.”

During one of his sojourns to Jean-Georges Beverly Hills at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, one of GAYOT’s 2017 Best New Restaurants in the U.S., we got to sit down with him to discuss his book. Watch the video above — it’s surely the best way to discover it all.

> Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is GAYOT’s 2016 Best Restaurateur.

2. The Power of Pasta | Bruno Serato

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Publisher: Select Books
Originally Published: 2017

A Man on a Mission

Let’s make a long story short… Back in 1987, Bruno Serato, who hails from Verona, Italy, arrived in California. With $200 in his pocket, his first job was as a dishwasher. He eventually worked his way up through the ranks and became the chef/owner of the Anaheim White House, a 1909 historical landmark located in the city of Anaheim in Orange County, CA.

In 2017, he published his third book, The Power of Pasta: A Celebrity Chef’s Mission to Feed America’s Hungry Children, with a supporting quote from legendary actress Sophia Loren. Two thirds of the book is about his life and the charity he created, Caterina’s Club, which helps provide nutritious meals for underprivileged children. (For his community work, he was honored as one of the 2011 Top 10 CNN Heroes.) The rest of the tome features 43 recipes from his Italian restaurant.

The best way to discover the book is to watch our exclusive video interview with the philanthropic chef.

3. Knife | Chef John Tesar

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Publisher: Flatiron Books
Originally Published: 2017

Chef John Tesar’s Knife restaurant is one of GAYOT’s Top 10 Steakhouses in America, so it might surprise you to learn that Tesar received classical French training for seafood!

Later in life, he developed a passion for meat. After a year and a half of traveling the country, going from one steakhouse to another, he felt he was ready to open his own steakhouse in Houston.

His book, Knife, bears the tagline “Texas steakhouse meals at home” on its cover. It’s clear: vegetarians and vegans, move it along (or be satisfied with a few dishes in the chapter on “Salads, Starters & Sides”).

Indulge your carnivorous side throughout the 246 pages, containing 60 recipes and more about beef. Watch our exclusive interview with chef Tesar to learn more about the book.

4. Avec Eric | Eric Ripert

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Publisher: Wiley
Originally Published: 2010

When his book was published, we spent time “Avec Eric” in Los Angeles. For those who don’t know, ‘avec’ is French for ‘with,’ and Eric is chef Eric Ripert. He had left his stoves at Le Bernardin restaurant in New York, one of GAYOT.com Top 40 US Restaurants continuously since 2004, so the West Coast could discover his cookbook Avec Eric, based on his TV show Avec Eric.

Besides 100 easy-to-make-at-home recipes, the cookbook is filled with stories taking place in different parts of the U.S. and countries around the globe. Watch my exclusive video interview with chef Ripert to learn more about him. And, yes, ladies, he is as charming as he is good-looking.

Chef Eric Ripert’s cookbook, Avec Eric, reads more like an adventure book organized around principles of cooking rather than a traditional cookbook. The book by the famed toque artfully combines kitchen wisdom, cooking philosophy and regional history to achieve a complete discussion of a menu from start to finish.

Now gone Anthony Bourdain sets the tone for what the reader can expect in the foreword: an introspective and insightful exploration of the ingredients and practices that make not only a great dish, but also a great chef. Ripert lays down his philosophy, which rests on a series of complex and well thought-out principles, in the introduction. “Cooking is how I express myself creatively,” he writes and “Cooking is a holistic process.”

Organized around chapters that represent a cooking journey, his recipes reflect particular principles such as “Star Ingredients,” “Artisanal,” “Craftsmanship” and “Tradition.” Ripert takes the time to stress the importance of these ideals through insightful stories. Based on his experience as an executive chef, his anecdotes are infused with rich imagery of his world travels, conversations with the providers of the best local ingredients, and the cultural and environmental implications of each local ingredient he uses.

The instructions are clear to read. He anticipates any problems a reader might experience while preparing a dish such as herb- and salt-crusted lamb loin; pan-roasted Arctic char over black olive potatoes and melted cherry tomatoes; or roasted capon with mushroom-truffle stuffing. The photos provide not only visual references for the end product, but also document Ripert’s adventures with portraits and landscapes of the people and places he visits. His holistic approach to cooking is reflected in the emphasis placed on the high quality of the ingredients, the dish as part of a larger menu, and the wine pairing that goes with it.

Avec Eric offers a path to not only creating sophisticated meals with appropriate wine pairings, but also to understanding a deeper and more integrated philosophy of cooking. The combination of tradition, environmentally-aware farmers providing top ingredients, and Ripert’s insight as a master chef, make this book a must-have for any cooking enthusiast looking to get more than just a meal out of their kitchen.

5. Bouchon Bakery | Thomas Keller & Sébastien Rouxel

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Publisher: Artisan
Originally Published: 2012

Thomas Keller is the only chef to have two restaurants with GAYOT.com’s highest rating of 19/20: The French Laundry and Per Se.

We had the pleasure to sit with uber-chef Keller at defunct Bouchon Beverly Hills to talk about his dessert book, Bouchon Bakery. Sébastien Rouxel, the book’s co-author and former executive pastry chef of The Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, joined the conversation.

We had not seen the bo[ok until the three of us flipped through the 400 pages. If you haven’t had a chance to see Keller’s first recipe book for desserts, watch the exclusive video above to discover it the same way we did. Coming from the masters directly, it is surely the best way to do so. The experience was quite fun, and, of course, a sweet moment to remember!

> Chef Thomas Keller is GAYOT’s 2013 Best Restaurateur.

6. Come Early, Stay Late | Brian Malarkey

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Publisher: Chefs Press, Inc.
Originally Published: 2012

The “Top Chef“ who is also a judge/mentor on ABC-TV’s The Taste, has been doing a good job since his original restaurant, Searsucker, in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, made GAYOT’s 2013 Hot 40 Restaurants in the U.S. The day I dropped by in the middle of the week in low-season, the restaurant was packed.

His restaurants are busy, so if you aren’t able to visit, here’s how to enjoy his dishes in the comfort of your own home. His cookbook “Come Early, Stay Late.”

7. Pinot, Pasta & Parties | Dee Dee & Paul Sorvino

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Publisher: Center Street/Hachette
Originally Published: March 2017

When love of food leads you to a cookbook.

Do you picture actor Paul Sorvino? Most of the time he’s the bad guy / gangster in the movie. Well, with his wife, Emmy Award winner Dee Dee, he becomes the good guy in the kitchen. The pair rolled up their sleeves and put together recipes their close circle has been enjoying over the years. A few months later “Pinot, Pasta, and Parties” was ready to print.

This cookbook of easy Italian recipes is divided in ten chapters. Each section has a menu to guide you, as well as many photos, for a full meal whether it’s for a family dinner or a party.

8. The Scarpetta Cookbook | Scott Conant

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Publisher: Houghton Milton Harcourt Publishing Company
Originally Published: October 2013

Cooking with Scott Conant.

If you have experienced chef Scott Conant’s cooking at one of his Scarpetta restaurants, chances are that you would like to enjoy some of his dishes in the comfort of your own house.

There are two solutions: you have him come over, but with his busy schedule, it might get very complicated; or you simply buy The Scarpetta Cookbook. It features 125 recipes that are easy to make at home so you can enjoy his creative Italian cuisine.

Watch our exclusive video interview with chef Conant, filmed in the beautiful kitchen of the defunct Scarpetta, located in the former hotel Montage Beverly Hills.

9. In Pursuit of Excellence | Josiah Citrin

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Publisher: North Star Media Books
Originally Published: October 2011

After many years of being the chef in his own restaurant, Josiah Citrin of Mélisse in Santa Monica has published his first cookbook: In Pursuit of Excellence.

Watch our exclusive video interview with Citrin to learn more about the book from the chef himself.

10. New Taco Classics | Lorena Garcia

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Publisher: Celebra
Originally Published: 2015

Lorena Garcia’s take on Latin American cuisine is easy to follow and fun to make.

In her signature fun style, chef Lorena Garcia’s “New Taco Classics” offers healthy and colorful takes on the best street foods of Latin American countries including Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador, Puerto Rico, Peru and Cuba.

The book is organized by sections including The Base (chapters on masa and beans); The Toppings (a dizzying array of sauces); The Fillings (poultry, pork, seafood, meats, veggies); and The Sides (everything from grilled corn and tostones to avocado fries). It’s a tasty way to learn new twists on the taco concept — that is, food prepared within a shell, or vessel.

11. Taming the Feast | Chef Ben Ford

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Publisher: Atria Books
Originally Published: 2014

When a party becomes a real feast.

Chef Ben Ford (defunct Ford’s Filling Station, Culver City, CA) takes partying to the next level, and he’s become famous for that. Ford prefers the get-together to be a big one. One where you roast a whole pig or serve paella for eighty.

And it seems that he gets a kick out of it even before the cooking starts. In his first book, Taming the Feast: Ben Ford’s Field Guide to Adventurous Cooking, he guides you on a complete journey to make your event a success — even the after-party.

Watch our exclusive video interview to discover the book (see the white arrow in the photo gallery above) and get ready for your next gathering with friends and family!

12. Savory Bites: Meals You can Make in Your Cupcake Pan | Hollis Wilder

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Publisher: Stewart, Tabori and Chang
Originally Published: 2013

Wild cupcakes that go beyond dessert.

Hollis Wilder is our favorite kind of warrior: the chef is the three-time winner of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars”. If you indulge in her creations like we have, “cupcake” will take on a whole different meaning.

She ingeniously transformed a smoked salmon egg salad into a delicious savory cupcake which helped her win Season 1 in 2009. In 2013, she won Season 8 with her jalapeño popper. She even makes ratatouille cupcakes!

Watch our video interview with her to get an exclusive preview of her book Savory Bites: Meals You Can Make in Your Cupcake Pan. The cookbook contains ninety nine recipes that will help you achieve savory happiness.

And if you are in Florida, where Wilder hails from, you can visit her two Sweet by Holly stores in Orlando and Jacksonville, where you will find more than 30 different cupcakes… but only sweet ones!