The Gift That Keeps On Giving

People are always asking me for cookbook recommendations. Maybe it's because I'm a chef, but more likely it's because I own over 1200 cookbooks and counting. With the holidays quickly approaching, I thought this might be a good time to offer up some suggestions based on some of my recent favorites.

For food enthusiasts, aspiring gourmands and anyone with the passion and patience for cooking I recommend Momofuku, by David Chang or The Big Fat Duck Cookbook, by Heston Blumenthal. Momofuku is a foray into the creative Korean-fusion cuisine of the Momofuku restaurants in New York City (Ko, Ssam Bar, Noodle Bar and Milk Bar.) The recipes are often ingredient laden and task daunting, but for ambitious cooks the results will be well worth the effort put forth. The Big Fat Duck cookbook ventures into the genius, twisted mind of one of the chefs on the forefront of the newest culinary trend, molecular gastronomy. For the cook who is interested in making foams and gels, or happens to have a canister of liquid nitrogen laying around, this book is bubbling over with creative and unusual recipes and offers a good deal of insight into what this style of cuisine is really all about. With a price tag of around $200.00, however, this book is only for those people you really like a lot!

The cook on your list with a passion for ethnic cuisine is sure to love Turquoise, by Greg and Lucy Malouf. This book, one of the most beautiful I've ever seen, focuses on the food of Turkey, as well as its history and diverse culture. It contains stunning photographs and is wholly deserving of a prime spot atop the coffee table. But before it ends up there, be sure to suggest that the recipient take into the kitchen so they can try out the numerous delicious recipes.

For the amateur bread baker on your list, I recommend Jim Lahey's My Bread. Lahey offersfoolproof recipes for homemade breads that are so delicious, it's hard to believe that something so simple could taste so good. Even those who have never baked a loaf of bread in their lives are certain to have great success with this book.

Finally, for the dessert lover on your list, try Martha Stewart's Cupcakes or The Craft of Baking, by Karen DeMasco. While the first offers an endless variety of ideas for the trendiest dessert of the past few years, the second offers a wonderful mix of classic dessert favorites and exciting new ideas.

In this economy, do you really want to give another knickknack that will sit in the back of a closet for five years until it's re-gifted? Instead, why not give something this year that your family and friends can really use and that you'll feel good about giving. And who knows, maybe you’ll even be the recipient of some delicious food as a result.

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
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            • Flexible Scheduling
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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            Baker College is the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. Our mission is to prepare you for meaningful employment.

            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
            • Curriculum includes laboratory sessions, academic preparation and hands-on experience.
            • Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
            • Has campuses in Melbourne, Sarasota, and Tallahassee, Florida
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            L'Ecole Culinaire , Saint Louis
            • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
            • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
            • St. Louis campus offers new Food Truck Entrepreneurship courses.
            • Has a student-run food truck that tours around St. Louis.
            • All campuses have a public restaurant where food is prepared and served by students.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
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            2 Program(s) Found
            • Culinary Arts program includes the 3-week Farm To Table® Experience, where students gain a direct, in-depth look at where food comes from.
            • Numerous scholarship opportunities and financial aid are available to students who qualify.
            • Accreditation from the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET), and the Council on Occupational Education (COE).
            • 2 campuses located in Boulder, Colorado and Austin, Texas.
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