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Cookbooks to inspire on World Book Day


On World Book Day, we are sharing our favourite cookbooks! With an abundance of options to choose from, our team of #bmFamily💜💚 foodies recommends a selection of both classic and contemporary culinary treasures. Whether you opt for cherished vintage editions or explore the latest releases, there’s a cookbook to suit every taste and skill level. Consider browsing second-hand options for budget-friendly finds (see Lin’s ideas below), leaving ample room to indulge in a cookbook for yourself.


My favourite cookbook is by Mark Hix – ‘British Regional Food’: A cook’s tour of the best produce in Britain and Ireland with traditional and original recipes. This was the first book gifted to me while studying culinary arts at Westminster Kingsway college. I love the topics mentioned in the book, it’s very interesting learning more about regional produce and ingredients. The book introduced me to British favourite recipes when I was a young chef taking my first steps and learning my craft. The book was awarded to me after winning a competition where I had to produce a seasonal British recipe. The recipes are simple to follow and easy to make at home, not technical and with great photos. You can only buy it second-hand, but don’t let that put you off.


I have a few recommendations for different reasons.

  • For the family that’s not too ‘cheffy’ – ‘The New Classics’ by Donna Hay or ‘The Pie Room’ by Callum Franklin. Recently published, it contains 80 achievable and show-stopping pies and sides for pie lovers everywhere!
  • For Meat lovers- ‘Hog’ by Richard Tuner
  • For chefs and serious home cooks – ‘The Hand and Flowers cookbook’ by Tom Kerridge, ‘Eleven Madison Park: The Next Chapter’ by David Humm, ‘Restaurant Nathan Outlaw’ (Restaurant Nathan Outlaw is the only fish restaurant in the UK to hold 2 Michelin stars) or any cook book by Thomas Keller.

But my favourite and strongest recommendation is ‘The Whole Fish cookbook’ by Josh Niland . It makes working with fish really easy and is simple to understand. It’s equally good for professional or home chefs. He shows you how to use the whole fish. It’s the first fish cookbook that I know of, that most chefs use. It’s easy to be intimidated by cooking fish, but he removes this by teaching about storage, boning, descaling and sustainability.


I am recommending an older book that’s brilliant for cooks of all levels. Thomas Keller’s ‘French Laundry’ has great explanations and recipes, visually it’s also a lovely book. It’s suitable for everyone from high-end chefs to keen home cook. It has a really good foreword and introduction which is useful for non-professional chefs. The recipes are in-depth, but easy to follow and the photography is incredible.

Keller has also written ‘Bouchon Bakery’ and ‘Ad Hoc at Home: Family-Style Recipes’ suitable for everyday cooking.  His latest book, ‘French Laundry, Per Se’ was published in October. A real treat (if a little on the pricey side) it has meticulous, in-depth recipes as well as reflection, notes on the restaurants’ daily operations, information about farmers and lessons for young chefs.


My recommendation is ‘Kitchen Confidential’ by Anthony Bourdain.  It’s a ‘warts and all’ expose of the restaurant business. My Irish Sous Chef gave me his copy many years back when I was promoted to his position after he left the company. It’s a very truthful book. It’s part biography of Anthony’s restaurant career interwoven with cooking advice. There is a lot of dark humour around the madness of working in restaurants. He describes events like re-enacting the opening sequence of the film ‘Apocalypse Now’. He recreated the napalm blast by pouring brandy over the range so that it would ignite, sending flames through the kitchen! Obviously not something we do at BM.  It’s very funny and a cookbook chefs will enjoy, I couldn’t put it down!


One of my favourite cook books is ‘Falastin’ by Sami Tamimi, it was published in 2020. Sami was Yotam Ottolenghi’s protégé and right-hand man. I’ve become massively obsessed with Palestinian cuisine and this is a book I haven’t manage to close since I got it! There are some modern and traditional dishes that have been brought right up to date. The recipes are healthy and delicious and much more than falafel and hummus! All the flavours are great and even if your effort doesn’t look like the picture, it will taste delicious. The recipes work and are fool-proof which is very important. It’s a clever skill, as a recipe writer, to achieve this. The baking and breads are excellent. The tahini and honey roll- Sami’s take on a cinnamon roll is legendary. I have eaten about 200 since March!

The other book I recommend is ‘Thai Food’ by David Thompson. It’s deceptively simple title belies a classic Thai cook book. As well as recipes and menus, there is background on the role of food in Thai culture and society. Everything you need if you are keen on Thai food, from guidance on ingredients and explanations of the essential techniques of Thai cookery.


I recommend ‘Le Cordon Bleu’s Pastry School’: 100 step-by-step recipes explained by the chefs of the famous French culinary school. Compiled by amazingly talented chefs, it’s a practical a step-by-step guide on how to do everything pastry. It would be a brilliant Christmas present for anyone who loves baking. And it would be great for any keen Great British Bake-Off fans.


I recommend Tom Kerridge’s ‘The Hand and Flowers’ cookbook. The Hand and Flowers is the only pub in the world to have two Michelin stars. The book contains 70 of the best dishes that have ever appeared on the Hand and Flowers menu. The pictures are stunning and the dishes are inspiring. These Pub classics are simple but very precise with an attention to detail and a wow factor. There are really interesting flavours – one of my favourites is the stuffed red mullet with braised oxtail and beef and bay dressing. Some recipes are a bit of a challenge but lots are accessible to all levels of cook. Tom is incredibly talented, anyone who is in to food will love this book for Christmas.


I recommend ‘Happy Food’: How eating well can lift your mood and bring you joy by Niklas Ekstedt and Henrik Ennart. As well as beautiful pictures and impeccable Nordic cooking it contains really good recipes and fascinating facts about how you can eat yourself happy from within. There is a lot about gut health (very topical at the moment) and eating well for body and mind. The writers take their recipe inspiration from the Blue Zones – places in the world where people live the longest. With all that’s been going on this year this would be a lovely Christmas gift to lift moods and bring joy!

We hope you have enjoyed reading our chef’s Christmas cookbooks for cooks recommendations and they are helpful when choosing a thoughtful Christmas gift.  I was so inspired I bought the Pie book for my father-in-law, the whole fish for my dad and Flastin for my daughter.


Baked to perfection by Becky Excell. This book includes gluten free bakes that actually taste nice! Easy to follow recipes along with the science behind Gluten free baking.

The complete Robuchon by Joel Robuchon, a modern French classic by one of the best. The flavour thesaurus and the flavour thesaurus more flavours by Niki Segnit. Really good for helping with what goes with what, will your combinations work? These books are great for helping with balancing different flavours.


My current favourites are ‘Simplicious‘, ‘The Medicinal Chef‘, ‘The Midlife Kitchen‘, ‘The world eats here‘ and an my trusty old fave, the ‘Avoca cafe‘ cookbook. I picked ‘Simplicious’, by Sarah Wilson up in a secondhand shop because I was attracted by the cover design (no surprises there!). It is unlike any other cookery book I have ever owned. She has doodled all over the book and the recipes and her approach are completely unique. Sarah is the former editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and was one of the hosts of the first series of MasterChef Australia, and author of I Quit Sugar. I am going to lend it to Charlotte Newman and Paul Tate as they are always looking for inspirational ways to remove or reduce sugar in recipes.

Share the love of food and cooking by giving a cookbook that will inspire, create memories and spread happiness. Happy World (Cook)Book Day 2024!