award winning cooks and their books

the updated interior of the best restaurant in the world photo courtesy Noma

the best restaurant in the world
photo courtesy Noma

I think I’ve mentioned I’m a ridiculous cookbook hoarder. Growing up I loved watching cooking shows on PBS, although I had little interest in actually cooking. As a matter of fact when my mom tried to engage me in the kitchen I balked and left the house in favor of mud puddles and swingsets, and later friends and books. But every Saturday morning would find me transfixed by the Galloping Gourmet and Julie Child. I still enjoy the ‘how to’ cooking shows over the reality based drama-in-the-kitchen shows. There’s something about the story of food that pulls me in. And when it comes to cookbooks, I rarely use them to cook, but covet every beautiful book I see and read them like novels with gorgeous pictures.

Now that it’s award season, I’ll share a few of my favorites from some fabulous award winners and nominees. I’m sure there are quite a few additional books that merit inclusion, but I don’t own them (yet). Maybe next year…..

The Best Restaurant in the World

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy is a group of over 900 mega foodies who eat out. A lot. And based on their own impressions they each vote, in order, for the 7 best restaurants they’ve eaten in during the prior 18 months. Then the votes get tallied and we get their yearly list every April. You can find the whole list here.

Noma is back on top. Chef Rene Redzepi (one of my personal favorites even though I’ve never eaten his food…..sigh…..) tells amazing food stories both about the food he cooks and his approach  to food and dining. Although I’ve never eaten his food, I have devoured his words, both written and spoken, as have many who live closer to the food world than I do. His message of eating locally with respect for the places we harvest ripples to the farthest reaches of the planet and has contributed to better eating for everyone. So yea, I’m happy he’s back on top. Check out his books….they are as much about story as they are about recipes. And by the way, Rene Redzepi: A Work in Progress is also a nominee in the Professional Cookbook category and the Photography category.


James Beard Awards 2014

The Beard Awards cover all aspects of the food industry from chefs to designers and are specific to North America. Per

Established in 1990, the James Beard Foundation Awards recognize culinary professionals for excellence and achievement in their fields and continue to emphasize the Foundation’s mission: to celebrate, preserve, and nurture America’s culinary heritage and diversity. Each award category has an individual Awards committee made up of industry professionals who volunteer their time to oversee the policies, procedures, and selection of judges for their respective Awards program.

Award winners for 2014 will be announced on Monday, May 5. Here are a couple of the nominees and their fabulous books.

A16: Best Wine Program

This is a gorgeous restaurant and a gorgeous cookbook that you can actually cook from. And in my case perhaps learn a thing or fifty-eight about wine. Steve will tell you how perfectly hopeless I am when it comes to knowing/describing/understanding wine…but I am good at drinking it!

Daniel Patterson: Best Chef in the West

I’m not going to go on and on and embarrass myself (again), just read about Daniel Patterson and Coi here. The book is gorgeous and Chef has a beautiful writing voice that bring ingredients, place and food to life.

I hope you enjoy these books as much as I do. They are as at home on my bedside table as they are the kitchen counter. Cook something wonderful for dinner, or maybe order in and read a really great story about food.