I am a book worm, food lover and passionate amateur cook. Hence, I have accumulated a small but fine cooking book library over the years. It contains some classics (Paul Bocuse, Paul Escoffier, Alain Ducasse) as well as odd pieces such as “The flavour Thesaurus” by Niki Segnit. I have discovered a treasure book store in Notting Hill, London: Books for Cooks, at 4 Blenheim Crescent, London W11 1NN.

Here are my five favorite books from my library that I would recommend as a “starter kit” for any emerging chef.

White Heat 25

Marco Pierre White

Marco Pierre White was the Rock Star of Chefs in the 1990s. He is a legend. He has helped to transform British Cuisine and raise it up to international top level. He was at the time the youngest chef ever to gain three Michelin Stars. He quit and returned them on New Years Eve 1999. But legends never die. This 25 Year anniversary bible shows fantastic photos from his wild years, but also recipes as well as valuable tips for basics, such as how to prepare various stocks. It has a special place in my kitchen library. Unfortunately out of print, but check ebay.com.

Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook

Swiss Chef Daniel Humm is an artist. He is regarded as one of the best amongst the best. With his Eleven Madison Park restaurant in New York City he has gained worldwide acclaim. This book contains extremely detailed and complex recipes, which shows the amateur cook what is behind a Michelin Star kitchen. The photos are pieces of art, the best of food photography. Highly interesting the description of a typical 24 hour routine at the restaurant: there is only one hour, where there is neither a guest nor a staff member there and the place is literally closed down: and that is between 4am and 5am.

Cooking School

Alain Ducasse

This is a classic. Alain Ducasse certainly represents the classic famous French Cooking School. He was the first Chef to simultaneously gain three Michelin Stars at three of his restaurants. I happened to have been at one of them, at the Dorchester in London. The book is divided into three levels of difficulty – Easy, Intermediate, Difficult. It explains the recipes in well structured, step-by-step explanations accompanied by great photos.

Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course

I have admired Ramsay since my London years in the late 1990s. Once we rubbed shoulders in our favorite pub – Goat in Boots on Fulham Road, watching our favorite Football Team – Chelsea FC. His acclaimed restaurant – Aubergine – was next door. 20+ years later I indulged in his flagship three Michelin Star place at Royal Hospital road in Chelsea. Two things stuck with me: he changed my attitude versus lamb, and I have never ever seen a more perfect service. This book goes from basic skills to a wide variety of inspiring recipes. It gives also very helpful tips for being a home chef / host. As a fan of Gordon this is a must in my kitchen library.

Knife Skills

Knives are for me the essential kitchen tools. My “trophy” is a Santoku knife that I bought at the famous old Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. Before handing it over to me, the vendor has sharpened it for about 30 minutes. This book is a useful well-illustrated manual on how to handle knives. Co-authored by 2 Michelin Star Chef Marcus Wareing, it is well structured – first in part 1 the basics, then in part 2 the application of knife skills on various ingredients (vegetables, fish, meat, fruit, etc). It teaches how to carve and chop, slice and dice, fillet and bone to perfection in your kitchen.

MySlowTrip - Lukas Stipkovits - About me

From the fast lane of investment banking to the slow lane of back to the essentials

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