I have a lot of books in my collection.  I also own a kindle, but there is something magical about a physical book – the texture of the paper, the tangible nature of them offers a longevity that E-books don’t have.  Also, according to a recent study, print books are better at conveying information.

If you want to start a food library, I can recommend these five books to start.  I have them all on my book shelf.  I refer to them frequently and they and they are often bought as gifts as well.  Yes, I’m super fun at parties.

Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain

From one of the very best storytellers of our time, Kitchen Confidential became required reading for every young chef busting their balls in kitchens around the world.  Bourdain exposed the brutal truths of kitchen work in a piece of work that remains as iconic as it is important.

Counter Intelligence – Jonathan Gold

Jonathan Gold’s Counter Intelligence is a compendium of his greatest restaurant reviews.  Over 200 concise and quite brilliant reflections of LA’s restaurant scene.  His work is inspired and even after 18 years this book is the gold standard in prose and acts as a reference for any aspiring food writer.

Fashioning Appetite – Restaurants and the Making of Modern Identity – Joanne Finkelstein

This original, clever book explores the roles restaurant have on our society, through the lens of a social scientist.  Why is society so attached to participating in this public display of private moments?  This book goes some way to explaining why, as consumers, we have fetishised what it means to dine out to the extent that in order to be pleased with our evening and, frankly, ourselves, our restaurant experience needs to be stellar.  A heavier read, but an essential one for me.


White Heat – Marco Pierre White

Published in 1990, this is more than just a cookbook.   It has become one of the most enduring, classic food publications of our time.  An endearing blend of outspoken opinion, recipes, industry anecdotes and some iconic photography by Bob Carlos Clarke, who makes White’s kitchen at Harvey’s look like a war zone.

Setting The Table – Danny Meyer

The reference book on hospitality – a must read for all aspiring restaurant professionals.  Danny Meyer helped create a new ethos of dining in New York and is one of the world’s most successful restauranteurs.  In ‘Setting The Table’, he delivers a memoir-cum-business manual that mixes relatable object lessons in hospitality with snippets of his fascinating autobiography.

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