Ten of the best cookbooks for fine dining

Cookbooks aimed at aspirational cooks and admirers of the wizardry of haute cuisine

There’s a time and a place for well-worn, sauce splattered cookbooks. This is not it. This is a line-up of fine-dining cookbooks that are aimed at the aspirational cook rather than the practical one or simply for those who admire the wizardry of haute cuisine and the worlds that surround and inspire it.

The French Laundry, Per Se (The Thomas Keller Library)

When chef Thomas Keller first published The French Laundry Cookbook in 1999 a chef of his calibre sharing all his ‘secrets’ wasn’t the norm so it sort of broke the mould for restaurant cookbooks. It was and still is an incredible insight into Keller’s kitchen and mind. This latest incarnation combines The French Laundry and his New York restaurant Per Se for an in-depth look at recipes and iconic dishes from both kitchens.

Ana Roš: Sun and Rain by Ana Roš


You may know Slovenian chef Ana Roš and her fascinating career path from Netflix’s Chef’s Table – she features in the second season. Her newly-released book Sun and Rain provides even more insight into her captivating world and distinct cooking style. The book weaves recipes, recollections and poems to tell the story of the chef, the components of her restaurant Hiša Franko and the landscape of which they are part.

Central by Virgilio Martínez

If you don’t know who chef Virgilio Martínez is yet, you should. His restaurant Central in Lima, Peru, is currently ranked number four on to the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Central is an intricately detailed look at Peruvian cuisine, with chapters interestingly organised according to altitude. It also reveals the inner workings of Martínez’s restaurant kitchen, which also functions as a research laboratory.

Fäviken: 4015 Days, Beginning to End by Magnus Nilsson

This is a notable book for many reasons – firstly, author and chef Magnus Nilsson was an important part of the new Nordic cuisine culinary movement; and secondly the restaurant it’s written about, Fäviken, is now closed. The book has the usual insights and recipes you expect but it’s also a unique, idiosyncratic look at what it was like to establish, build up and close one of the world’s most highly prized places to eat.

Arzak + Arzak by Juan Mari Arzak and Elena Arzak

This book offers an enthralling look at the story of Arzak, the world-renowned three-Michelin-starred San Sebastián restaurant run by the father and daughter team of Juan Mari Arzak and Elena Arzak. Together they are a pioneering force in Spanish cooking and Arzak + Arzak charts their story from Juan Mari’s role in the birth of the New Basque cuisine to it’s current visionary kitchen team. And of course plenty of their innovative recipes.

The Hand and Flowers by Tom Kerridge

After publishing many more accessible cookbooks over the years, legendary chef Tom Kerridge finally released a book full of the recipes we really wanted from his two-Michelin-starred pub-restaurant the Hand and Flowers. The book contains insights into Kerridge’s career and journey, along with lots of the recipes that have made the Hand and Flowers famous and many of them are surprisingly practicable.

Monk: Light and Shadow on the Philosopher’s Path by Yoshihiro Imai

Yoshihiro Imai is the chef of Monk, a 14-seat, omakase-style menu restaurant set on the Philosopher’s Path in Kyoto but it is Yoshihiro’s pizza that is the surprising star of the show here. He has previously written a book dedicated to his pizza recipes but Monk is more of a monograph, offering insights into his passion for pizza, his serene surroundings, his foraging adventures and the local farmers and producers with whom he works so closely. An escapist book worth taking your time over.

The Fat Duck by Heston Blumenthal

The book takes you inside the head of foodies’ favourite science-obsessed chef, Heston Blumenthal, famed for his culinary concoctions such as snail porridge and bacon-and-egg ice cream, which were all invented at his incredible restaurant the Fat Duck. The book contains plenty of playful recipes and recollections that go into great detail on taste, flavour and other senses, as you’d expect from Blumenthal.

Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine by René Redzepi

Most of fine dining’s obsession with foraging and fermenting can probably be traced back to chef René Redzepi and his first book, Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine. In this book, Redzepi introduces us to his obsession for foraging wild produce and shares more than 90 of Noma’s recipes. It’s hard to believe this was first published back in 2010 before Noma had a grand total of three Michelin stars and the myriad of other accolades it has garnered since then.

Classic Koffmann by Pierre Koffmann

Pierre Koffman is often referred to as the “chef of chefs” or “the grandfather French cuisine in Britain’” thanks to the huge influence he has had over the 50-plus years he has been cooking. This book is his home masterclass of Koffmann and a small taste of what some of the chefs who trained under him would have lapped up and learned from over the years.