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Joanne Chang on 5 Cookbooks Every Chef Needs
Amy's Bread by Amy Scherber
"Amy has a no-nonsense way of explaining how to make simple breads and pastries that have guided me for years. If you're starting a cookbook collection, this book will make you feel Amy's passion and spirit for bread baking. She's not hoity-toity. She's more like, 'Hey, this is my bakery, and here are the breads that we make—and you can make them too.' Bread is something a lot of people shy away from, but Amy makes it approachable."
The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
"This is an introductory book that has enough in it that even professionals who've been baking for years will find it useful. Rose is famous within the pastry world for her exacting testing and measurements. She isn't a restaurant pastry chef, but you're not going to make restaurant deserts in your kitchen—you're going to make cakes for your family. (But we use this book almost daily at my bakery, Flour, and a variation of her sour cream coffee cake is on the menu.)"
Next: More of Joanne Chang's indispensable cookbooks...
The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser
"This is the book I turn to when I don't know what I want to cook and want to get ideas. It's filled with the most beloved and popular recipes from New York Times readers over the past 150 years. Food writer Amanda Hesser updated them to reflect today's lighter, more varied palate, making potentially intimidating recipes relevant, fun and accessible for home cooks of any level."
Hot Sour Salty Sweet: A Culinary Journey Through Southeast Asia by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
"We use this book all the time at Myers + Chang for visual inspiration; at home, it gives me all sorts of ideas for coming up with easy dinners and quick snacks. The authors are so passionate about Asian food. They traveled all over the continent, and introduce readers to the different countries' cuisines through explanations and pictures. So for instance, there will be a story of a person they met in a village in China who taught them how to make a certain kind of dumpling—and then there's a step-by-step recipe for how to make the dumpling. Or even more unusual dishes, like an oyster omelet or spicy silky tofu. It's a book that shows you the foods and how people make them—and makes you so excited to try them."
How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
"I pull this out all the time when I've gone to the supermarket or farmers' market and come home with new veggies, an unfamiliar cut of meat or something else I'm not familiar with. Whatever it is, it's in the book. For example, I would have no idea where to start with roast beef. All I have to do is go to Bittman. Same goes for pork chops. I only know how to make them Chinese style, but Bittman has recipes for how to grill them or how to sauté them. My husband just used it to make an omelet the other day, actually."