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    15 Books By Chefs You'll Want To Read If You Have A Love For Cooking

    If you’re looking for books that combine rich food descriptions with a side of adventures in living, add these chef memoirs to your TBR.

    Food memoirs have an irresistible appeal — especially to foodies. Although so many great food memoirs have been written by journalists, essayists, and home cooks, some of the best food writing can be found in books by chefs. If you’re looking for books that combine rich food descriptions with a side of adventures in living, you’ll want to add these chef memoirs to your TBR. Just a fair warning that you might not want to read this without food by your side.


    1. Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl

    Random House Trade

    Ruth Reichl is a foremost food writer with a slew of food memoirs such as Garlic and Sapphires and Tender at the Bone under her belt. Save Me the Plums is one of her finest books. It chronicles Reichl’s move from restaurant critic to editor of Gourmet magazine. Riechel is a trailblazing leader with an undying love for food and food writing. Packed with recipes, this book is a balm for food lovers and writers alike.

    Get it from Bookshop or through your indie bookstore through Indiebound here

    2. Life, on the Line by Grant Achatz

    Avery Publishing Group

    When renowned chef Grant Achatz was diagnosed with tongue cancer, he had two choices: aggressive chemo and radiation or surgery to remove his entire tongue. He chose chemo and radiation and ended up losing his sense of taste. This book documents his determination to keep cooking through the process, training his chefs to mimic his palate and never letting the quality of his food slip. Achatz’s memoir is a lesson in creativity, the power of friendships, and the fight for survival.

    Get it from Bookshop or through your indie bookstore through Indiebound here

    3. Notes from a Young Black Chef by Kwame Onwuachi

    Vintage

    Chef Kwame Onwuachi shares his road to an impressive food career by his late twenties. Raised in the Bronx and Nigeria, Kwame competed in Top Chef, cooked in the White House, and opened (and closed) one of the finest restaurants in the US. In this memoir, he delves into his wins and the struggles of being a Black chef and being forced to close a restaurant he poured his heart into.

    Get it from Bookshop or through your indie bookstore through Indiebound here

    4. Love, Loss, and What We Ate by Padma Lakshmi

    Ecco Press

    Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi’s memoir details her life from her childhood in the US, her career as a model, her marriage to Salman Rushdie, her family’s history in India, and how food remains the constant common thread. Lakshmi’s memoir includes meaningful recipes and sections about the family members who shaped her and her love of food. If you’re looking for an all-encompassing memoir about life, loss, love, and food, this is the one for you.

    Get it from Bookshop or through your indie bookstore through Indiebound here

    5. My Life in France by Julia Child

    Anchor Books

    Julia Child’s classic is the basis of the beloved Julia & Julia movie starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. This well-loved classic chronicles Child’s move to France, her tender relationship with her husband, and her introduction to French cuisine. Full of heart and lessons on the power of learning by doing, this memoir is inspiring and entertaining.

    Get it from Bookshop or through your indie bookstore through Indiebound here. 

    6. Give a Girl a Knife by Amy Thielen

    Clarkson Potter Publishers

    Amy Thielen fell in love with cooking in rural Minnesota where she grew up and moved to New York City in pursuit of her love for cooking. After years of working in fine dining in the big city, Thielen returned to her midwest roots (literally). Thielen’s book is down-to-earth and suffused with memories from her midwestern childhood.

    Get it from Bookshop or through your indie bookstore through Indiebound here

    7. Finding Freedom by Erin French

    Celadon Books

    In this deeply vulnerable food memoir, Erin French details her life struggles from her farm childhood to her battle with depression and substance abuse. French shares how she found solace in food and was able to rebuild her personal and culinary life. If you enjoy raw memoirs with a sprinkling of food writing, don’t miss this one.

    Get it from Bookshop or through your indie bookstore through Indiebound here

    8. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

    Ecco Press

    The late culinary legend Anthony Bourdain spills on his culinary secrets, as well as his adventures in over 25 years as a chef. Note that this one is quite graphic as Bourdain doesn’t shy away from discussing his sexual escapades and his experiences with drugs and the grit of restaurant-working life.

    Get it from Bookshop or through your indie bookstore through Indiebound here

    9. Eat a Peach by David Chang

    Clarkson Potter Publishers

    This extraordinary coming-of-age culinary memoir shows readers a peek into David Chang’s inner life. The renowned chef went from modest beginnings as the son of Korean immigrant parents to owning a noodle restaurant with 15 locations from New York to Australia. Chang’s inspiring and moving memoir is deeply personal and will resonate with food lovers and anyone who’s ever struggled with mental health issues.

    Get it from Bookshop or through your indie bookstore through Indiebound here

    10. Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker

    Penguin

    After a chance encounter with the world of obsessive sommeliers, average wine drinker Bianca Bosker decides to go on a year-long adventure to experience the world of wine in its richness. This memoir takes readers from wine tasting at wineries to top-rate New York restaurants as Bosker finds life-changing answers about why wine is such a big deal.

    Get it from Bookshop or through your indie bookstore through Indiebound here

    11. A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg

    Simon & Schuster

    After her father’s death, Molly Wizenberg went to Paris, unwittingly immersing herself in its culinary culture and finding unexpected solace. Her blog, The Orangette was born. In her heartfelt memoir, she explores the trajectory of her life and the inextricable link between food and memories.

    Get it from Bookshop or through your indie bookstore through Indiebound here. 

    12. Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton

    Random House Trade

    Hamilton’s memoir takes readers through the many kitchens that shaped her into the unwilling chef she is. But more than that, this epic culinary masterpiece also hones in on her family, marriage, and the ups and downs of life through the years.

    Get it from Bookshop or through your indie bookstore through Indiebound here

    13. Climbing the Mango Trees: A Memoir of a Childhood in India by Madhur Jaffrey

    Vintage

    Journey to Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian childhood and see how it nurtured a love of food and cooking in her. This memoir is a vivid tale of the food memories, nostalgic recipes, and personal history that define Jaffery’s identity. Food lovers will be delighted to know that this one also has over 30 family recipes scattered throughout.

    Get it from Bookshop or through your indie bookstore through Indiebound here

    14. My Berlin Kitchen: Adventures in Love and Life by Luisa Weiss

    Penguin Group

    This cozy, romantic food memoir provides a look into Luisa Weiss’s journey to blogging at The Wednesday Chef. It examines how her childhood of being ferried between houses by her divorced parents led to her finding home in the kitchen. Weiss shows readers how she upturned her seemingly idyllic New York life and engagement with a break-up. Then, she moved to Berlin and finally found true love inside and out of the kitchen.

    Get it from Bookshop or through your indie bookstore through Indiebound here

    15. The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn

    Penguin Books

    Fresh out of culinary school in France, Kathleen Flinn was unsure where to go next in her culinary journey — until she stumbled into a woman stocking her shopping cart with processed foods. After convincing the woman to try fresh ingredients, Flinn realized she was on to something. In this memoir, she shares her passion for teaching others to cook well, and how she’s helped nine other people find their inner cook.

    Get it from Bookshop or through your indie bookstore through Indiebound here