We've interviewed enough chefs to know that moms and grandmothers (as well as fathers and grandfathers) are major culinary influences in many of their lives. So these aren't just Mother's Day presents. They're textbooks to our mentors, because a good chef never stops learning.
For family recipes:
Katie Chin's Everyday Chinese Cookbook
Off the bat, one of the things we appreciate about Katie's teaching style is her care in breaking down certain steps to more sizable bites of information. Within her crispy fish with ginger-scallion sauce recipe, there are additional visual aids demonstrating how things should look after each step. It's her thoughtfulness that makes you feel less like a student, more like a friend over for dinner. Katie's mom, Leann, was a serious OG, leading cooking classes back in the 70s. Like mother, like daughter.
For the Orange County native:
50 Best Plants On The Planet
Intelligent. Well-respected. Genuine. We could go on about the lady who is Cathy Thomas, but her thorough collection of facts speaks for itself. A vegetable-driven novel with meat as a secondary character, this gets us excited about fresh produce. With nutritional breakdowns, recipes and simple ways to incorporate all the fruits and veggies featured, here's proof that success can be classy instead of flashy.
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For the pop culture/social media enthusiast:
Cravings: Recipes For All The Food You Want To Eat
"When I'm not traveling, though, I am basically a world-class shut-in." We didn't expect to enjoy Chrissy Teigen's book as much as we did. Her narration is as if she's on the phone with you, proclaiming her 'Death Row' meal (it's scalloped potatoes) and how a recipe will serve a shit-ton of people. The photographs are essentially food porn plus hubby John Legend— we expect nothing less. And her recipes are great; not fussy, and full of flavor. Another fun quote, "I know this salad is good because it gets me more Instagram likes than my boobs."
For those that eat out:
FIG & OLIVE: The Cuisine of the French Riviera
Best known for their versions of liquid gold, we are invited inside the Fig & Olive kitchen for the restaurant's 10th anniversary. Founder Laurent Halasz opens up and shares meals from his memories of growing up in Mougins. Pairing over 60 recipes with their famous olive oils, prepare for wanderlust as you travel through the chapters, "Similar to an evening at our home in Mougins, we hope readers enjoy these recipes with their family and friends, and use them, just like my family has enjoyed for years, to gather with loved ones around the table."
For some family history with your garlic noodles
An: To Eat: Recipes and Stories from a Vietnamese Family Kitchen
Part cookbook, part biography. Helene An's story is told by Jacqueline, one of her five supportive daughters. Together they present two styles of cooking— modern American with an Asian twist, as well as traditional Vietnamese fare with French influences. Although the meat of the book (pun intended) is Helene's account of her transition from aristocrat to refugee to restaurateur. Wine and beer suggestions paired with stylish photography craft an elegant companion in the kitchen, plus memorable coffee table reading.