It’s never too late to learn something new, especially when that something is a delicious dish from one of Boston’s top culinary talents. When you’re looking to get cooking, turn to the pros—local chefs share their secrets and school you in technique and tastiness with cookbooks of every flavor. Scroll on to sharpen your skill set with the inspirational and instructive books below.
Chefs Joanne Chang and Karen Akunowicz are bringing the best of Myers + Chang home—to your home, that is—with their first collaborative cookbook. Together with restaurateur Christopher Myers, the culinary duo is gathering a greatest hits list of recipes to share, or, as Chang puts it, “every single amazing dish we could think of that we’ve made at M+C that works for home cooks.” Some highlights? Tea-smoked ribs, Chinese Caesar salad, Nirvana Chicken Congee and then some. The book release will coincide with the 10-year anniversary of Myers + Chang, making it a well-timed (and tasty) tribute. See a cookbook Q+A with Chang herself here.
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em—chef Andy Husbands and Chris Hart lend their pitmaster prowess to the home cook with a fired-up BBQ guide. The iQUE team members, winners of the Jack Daniels World Championship, present an introduction to the techniques and tastes of barbecue in their latest book. With insights from guest pitmasters, smoker tutorials, cocktails, regional side dishes and more, Pitmaster primes the first-time tailgater and seasoned backyard cook for bigger and better BBQ.
Chef Matt Jennings formerly of Townsman is a nationally-renowned culinary talent, but he’s a local boy at heart, and his food has always had one foot planted firmly on his home turf. Over 100 modern takes on New England staples are featured in his debut cookbook, which released in October 2017. If you’re looking for approachable and simple cuisine — Jennings’ specialty — this is for you.
Chef Barbara Lynch has shown she’s an unstoppable culinary force but the born-and-bred Bostonian slows down (somewhat) for a look back at her journey in Out of Line. The memoir follows Lynch from a hardscrabble youth in South Boston housing projects to her place at the helm of an award-winning restaurant group, leading readers through her process of self-invention and the development of her signature culinary style.
Mollusk-lovers rejoice! Chef Jeremy Sewall and Marion Lear Swaybill dive in to the depths for an expansive exploration of the beloved bivalve. The Island Creek Oyster Bar restaurateur contributes personal oyster insights to the comprehensive tome, which covers everything from oysters in the arts to mollusk myths and metaphors. Portraits of over 50 North American varietals, plus flavor profiles, an introduction to American oystermen and women and a reference glossary complete the sea-worthy guide, available from Abbeville Press.
Chef Jody Adams shares recipes for her favorite dishes – the ones she prepares at home for friends and family when she’s not at Rialto. By breaking the recipes down to the absolute basics – starting with what to look for at the supermarket or farm stand, and equipment essentials – Adams gives the home cook a great foundation for thinking and cooking like a chef.
Jamie Bissonnette of Toro, Coppa and Little Donkey teaches his brand of charcuterie in The New Charcuterie Cookbook. Chock full of recipes for sausages, pâtés, confits and salumi from the James Beard Best Chef Award Winner, this book breaks down and demystifies the art of charcuterie for the home cook with step-by-step instructions and pictures.
Flavorful one-pot meals take to new heights in Braise—renowned chef Daniel Boulud (with the help of renowned food writer Melissa Clark) presents an in-depth look into one of the world’s most popular cooking techniques. Readers are whisked to faraway lands, such as Thailand, Turkey, Russia and China, to explore the myriad of slow-cooking recipes – from meat to fish to greens – in easy-to-follow and entertaining guides.
This cookbook by chef Daniel Boulud, of Boston’s Bar Boulud and worldwide fame, dispels the notion of complicated French cooking, bringing the classic cuisine down to earth in 75 signature recipes. Boulud covers his favorite casual recipes to serve family and friends, in addition to informative essays on essential subjects like bread and cheese. Complete with humorous observations by food author Bill Buford, My French Cuisine translates French culinary technique for the everyday home cook.
For amateur cooks looking to up their game, My Best offers illustrated how-tos from one of the world’s top chefs, Daniel Boulud. The French owner behind Bar Boulud and a slew of other kitchens shares the skills and techniques that are essential to his culinary style, including the chef’s most prized plates like his famous grapefruit givre dessert, customized for the home cook.
Part memoir and part cookbook, Letters to a Young Chef is an invaluable read – and resource – for burgeoning cooks. The book chronicles chef Daniel Boulud’s journey reinventing French food and revolutionizing American fine dining, providing an intimate look at how he built his culinary career. Boulud shares lessons he’s learned on the way to his global restaurant empire and pays homage to the mentors who inspired him with memorable recipes.
Chef Daniel Bruce, who oversees all culinary operations at the Boston Harbor Hotel (including the menus at Meritage and Rowes Wharf Sea Grille), shares the recipes that he cooks for his family in Simply New England: Seasonal Recipes That Celebrate Land and Sea. A compilation of contemporary New England cuisine, all 125 recipes feature seasonal, local products (enhanced by the occasional French or Italian twist thanks to Bruce’s professional travels to both countries).
Mathematcian-turned-baker-turned-author Joanne Chang teaches dessert-lovers how to get the best of both worlds. Her third cookbook features 60-plus recipes that help cut back on sugar intake without compromising flavor by utilizing equally sweet natural substitutes, like honey, maple syrup and fruit juice. With more than 35 enticing food shots and illustrations alongside her revolutionary recipes, Chang’s Baking with Less Sugar is a must-read for any budding baker or guilt-ridden sweet-tooth.
Joanne Chang (also of Myers + Chang) shares essential baking tips and 150 recipes from her super successful Flour Bakery + Café, now with three locations in and around Boston. Bakers and pastry makers will learn the secrets to her perfect croissants and her infamous sticky buns in this accessible, instant classic cookbook.
The second cookbook from Boston’s beloved Joanne Chang, includes the most-requested savories from the menus at her four Flour Bakery + Cafés. At-home cooks – experienced and amateurs, alike – can choose from 100 gratifying recipes (accompanied by mouthwatering color photos) perfect for easy at-home eating and entertaining from amped up brunch basics to specialty soups, pizzas, pasta, and, of course, signature sweets.
Chef/CEO Steve DiFillippo of the award-winning Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse empire shares his successful business strategy in his exciting, story-driven, fast-paced memoir and business book. Full of practical advice (and twelve signature recipes), It’s All About the Guest shares DiFillippo’s experiences on every interpersonal, financial, managerial, philosophical, emotional and technical lesson learned and encountered along his way to becoming a successful restaurateur.
Plucked from the pages of the Boston Globe Food Section, this collection of seafood-focused recipes highlights contributions from Boston’s most acclaimed chefs including Ken Oringer of Uni, Toro and Coppa fame, Lydia Shire of Scampo, Jasper White of the Summer Shack, Ana Sortun of Oleana, Sarma and Sofra Bakery, Gordon Hamersley of Hamersley’s Bistro and Jody Adams of Rialto at the Charles Hotel and Trade.
A longtime proponent of sustainable dining and the use of local, farm-fresh foods, chef Peter Davis plucks some of his most tantalizing recipes, fresh from the menus of Henrietta’s Table, and puts them all together in this 218-page, full color cookbook. New England cuisine comes to life through the cooking and the farmer and purveyor profiles scattered throughout.
Tea Sommelier Cynthia Gold of L’Espalier teams up with Lise Stern to turn everyone’s conception of one of the world’s oldest and most beloved beverages on its head. Culinary Tea teaches readers all about the timeless techniques for picking and drying leaves, covers the history of trading, and delves into the culinary uses in more than 100 recipes.
Taking your cooking to the next level takes a touch of fearlessness – luckily The Smoke Shop‘s chef-owner Andy Husbands has fearlessness to spare. With some guidance from the pages of this cookbook, home cooks can expand beyond their usual repertoire and explore the edge of American cuisine. Husbands teaches the home cook how to incorporate bold global flavors to spice up the most basic meal.
Wicked Good Barbecue: Fearless Recipes from Two Damn Yankees
Who Have Won the Biggest, Baddest BBQ Competition in the World
Partners in ‘cue, Andy Husbands of The Smoke Shop and Chris Hart reveal their secrets to blue-ribbon-winning barbecue in Wicked Good Barbecue, a 224 page collection that includes their award-winning beef brisket as well as the twenty-five step Champion Chicken . Backyard grillers can see if they’ve got the chops to recreate recipes from these two New England-based chefs/pit masters.
Barbeque guru and Andy Husbands, chef-owner of three locations of The Smoke Shop, turns his award-winning grill skills to the topic of burgers in his new cookbook, Wicked Good Burgers. He fearlessly incorporates new techniques (like smoking, grilling, griddling and sous vide-ing) and ingredients (like beef, lamb and goat) to up the ante on the humble but delicious sandwich.
Grill to Perfection: Two Champion Pit Masters’ Recipes and Techniques
for Unforgettable Backyard Grilling
Backyard grillers can up their game with this volume by veteran barbecue champions Chris Hart and Andy Husbands of The Smoke Shop. The recipes travel all over the world to find some of the tastiest grilled items like smoky, sweet Korean barbecue, Caribbean jerk ribs and Sichuan chicken sticks with plenty of spice. With Husbands and Hart as culinary guides, at-home grill masters will increase their prowess exponentially.
A self-taught chef and Boston native, chef Barbara Lynch discovered her passion for cooking in Home Economics. Lynch’s hunger for knowledge, hard work, and raw smarts enabled her to create her own distinct culinary style and build a successful restaurant empire, which includes No. 9 Park, B&G Oysters, The Butcher Shop, Drink, Sportello and Menton. For this, her first cookbook, she culls 150 recipes that combine her award winning sophistication and practicality to help the home cook create a stir at home.
Chef-owner Frank McClelland compiles some of his greatest hits and adapts them for the home cook for his first cookbook. Plucked from the menus of Wine Mondays, L’Espalier’s weekly wine dinner series, the recipes are all accompanied by suggested wine pairings, which allows the home cook to focus on mastering McClelland’s award-winning French fare instead of what to pour with them.
Home cooks will come back to chef Michael Schlow’s cookbook again and again for its inspirational stories, informative sidebars, helpful tricks, and most of all, for its broad range of never-fail recipes that are easy to follow and always special. Among the book’s 248 pages are 150 painstakingly tested recipes – ones for 30 minute meals and ones for more elegant dishes like the ones on the menus at Tico or Alta Strada.
Clara Silverstein pulls together more than 100 recipes from Boston’s best and brightest chefs for this cookbook. Among the chefs customizing their restaurant recipes for the home cook are Ming Tsai of Blue Dragon, Lydia Shire of Scampo, Jasper White of the Summer Shack and Jody Adams of Rialto and Trade. The collection includes some traditional regional fare (like the lobster roll and Boston baked beans) as well as more contemporary fare.
Respected Boston chef Jeremy Sewall of Eastern Standard, Island Creek Oyster Bar and Row 34 pays tribute to regional cuisine in The New England Kitchen: Fresh Takes on Seasonal Recipes. This cookbook contains 100 recipes that celebrate the Northeast with lots of outstanding fish dishes (not surprising given Sewall’s seafood-y leanings) as well as plenty of recipes for vegetarian and meaty meals.
In this beautifully realized, and much-anticipated cookbook, Oleana chef-owner Ana Sortun shows readers how to use the philosophy of spice to create wonderful Eastern Mediterranean dishes from their very own kitchens. Organized by spice, the book details the ways in which certain spices complement each other, helping the home cook gain confidence and a more intuitive way of using spices in their own cooking.
Chefs Ana Sortun and Maura Kilpatrick have proven the power of their culinary collaboration at their eateries, Oleana and Sofra, so readers can expect delicious things from their first joint cookbook, Soframiz. Inspired by the Middle Eastern specialties at Sofra, the pair has put down in words some of the café and bakery’s top recipes for the at-home cook. The book, from Ten Speed Press, includes a primer on exotic ingredients and techniques, plus instruction on dishes for everyday eating and entertaining in Sofra style.
In chef Ming Tsai’s first cookbook, the popular chef and TV host shares the technique and philosophy behind the award-winning east-meets-west-cuisine that’s put Blue Ginger, his Wellesley restaurant on the national culinary map. Bursting with tips for working with unfamiliar ingredients and preparations, Blue Ginger is an outstanding introduction to the pleasures of cross-cultural cooking.
In his sophomore cookbook effort, Blue Ginger’s Ming Tsai applies his innovative east-meets-west skills to everyday cooking, transforming standard fare like spaghetti, burgers and chicken wings into delicious and exciting new dishes. With a versatile array of master recipes for sauces, rubs, dressings and more, Tsai minimizes last-minute prep and makes fusion fare approachable for the home cook.
In Simply Ming: One-Pot Meals (his first cookbook in seven years), chef Ming Tsai tackles the four basic needs in everyday cooking today – taste, healthfulness, simplicity and affordability. Using ingredients that can be found easily online or at your local market, Tsai breaks 80 recipes down into seven techniques of one-pot cooking – braising, wokking, sautéing, roasting, steaming and flash frying, tossing and soups. Each recipe minds its fat intake and allergens (keeping it healthful); every dish costs roughly $20 for a family of four (keeping it economical); and each dish can be prepared in one vessel (keeping it simple).