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.
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.
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.
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).
Joanne Chang (also of Myers + Chang) shares essential baking tips and more than 150 recipes from her super successful mini chain of award-winning Flour Bakery + Cafés, now with multiple 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 expanding empire of 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.
Mathematician-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.
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.
Complete your collection with the most recent cookbook from award winning baker and pastry chef Joanne Chang. In Pastry Love: A Baker’s Journal of Favorite Recipes, the Flour Bakery + Cafe proprietress shares some master lessons and must-have skills as well as 125 dessert recipes that are perfect for at-home execution (everything from Brown Butter Butterscotch Caramels to a Swedish Napoleon).
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 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.
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 Pitmasters’ 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.
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.
Award-winning pitmaster, chef and cookbook author Andy Husbands teams up with collaborator and co-author Will Salazar in his latest tome, The Smoke Shop’s Backyard BBQ. The pair share recipes and a slew of tips for hosting epically tasty and fun gatherings in chapters like The Big Brunch, Holiday Party and Fancy Party so you’ll be well equipped to add some ‘que to just about any occasion.
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 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.
Chef Jason Santos, of Citrus & Salt, Abby Lane and Buttermilk & Bourbon, is known for his prowess in the kitchen and his signature blue-hued tresses. The talented and well-coiffed cooker put down the tongs (and the comb) and put pen to paper for his first cookbook, Buttermilk & Bourbon: New Orleans Recipes with a Modern Flair. In this collection of his best Southern-inspired recipes, Santos breaks down some of the most raved-about recipes in his repertoire into manageable (bite-sized, even!) pieces.
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 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.
Mollusk-lovers rejoice! Chef Jeremy Sewall and Marion Lear Swaybill dive in to the depths for an expansive exploration of the beloved bivalve. The Row 34 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.
Oyster expert and shellfish pro Jeremy Sewall brings the award-winning fare from his popular Row 34 trio of restaurants (Boston, Burlington and Portsmouth), to the page in The Row 34 Cookbook: Stories and Recipes from a Neighborhood Oyster Bar. Loaded with 120+ recipes suited for the home cook, the book includes sections on smoking and curing, a whole primer on oysters (which ones to buy and how to open the stubborn little bivalves) as well as a host of mouthwatering photos that’ll get you in the mood for seafood.
Bring all the flavors of southern Maine into your very own kitchen with this volume from the folks at Eventide. The James Beard Award-winning team – Arlin Smith, Andrew Taylor, Mike Wiley and Sam Hiersteiner – shares their collective wisdom, everything from buying and prepping the best seafood to hosting a family-style Maine clambake. There are, of course, signature dishes like their brown butter lobster roll on a bao bun, New England clam chowder and tempura smelts with spicy tzatziki that’ll keep you reaching for this cookbook time and time again.
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).
Chef Jasper White blows the lid off the whole genre with a cookbook featuring fifty chowder recipes that go well beyond corn and clam varieties. Once they master the chowder basics (real chowder consists of chunks of local seasonal ingredients served in a moderate amount of broth) home cooks will, with a little guidance from the man behind the seafood-laden menus at The Summer Shack, discover the diversity of ingredients that can be incorporated to create chowders like they never imagined.
Summer Shack chef-owner and seafood expert Jasper White brings the flavors and foods of summer in New England right into the home kitchen with this book of more than 200 easy-to-make recipes. White demystifies summertime favorites (like clam rolls or lobster rolls) and the requisite skills each one requires (like shucking clams and cracking open a lobster) so the home cook can enjoy the style, fun, and flavors of the shore all year long—without any fuss.
Lobster may seem like a luxurious special occasion treat but when enjoyed at home, lobster can make a relatively affordable and healthful meal – it’s low in calories and packed with Omega 3 acids. In 256 pages full of all sorts of words of wisdom, Summer Shack chef-owner Jasper White will walk the home cook through how to get the most from each delicious crustacean. The book explains everything (how to choose just the right lobster; how to steam it; and how to extract every last morsel of meat) and includes recipes that range from simple to sublime.
Even before becoming Boston’s seafood maven, Summer Shack chef-owner Jasper White was considered an expert in all things New England – culinarily speaking, that is. In this, his first cookbook, he explores the wide-ranging depth of traditional and contemporary New England cookery, offering delicious recipes for fish, venison, poultry, and other foods. His dishes, steeped though they are in tradition, also reflect contemporary health concerns.
Relive sunny summer days on Nantucket by way of the CRU Oyster Bar Nantucket Cookbook: Savoring Four Seasons of the Good Life. Chef Erin Zircher of CRU Oyster Bar combines her classical training and her love of Mediterranean flavors in this gorgeous book, which features 75 recipes (carrot hummus, lobster bisque, fried oysters, warm farro salad and more) as well as full size images that’ll make you feel like you’re living the island life all year round.