There's nothing better than the feeling of presenting a beautiful dish that you've worked hard on – especially when it comes out tasting great too. But it can also be tricky to find the time and energy to make a whole meal from scratch. Lately, we've felt the kitchen fatigue settling in, so we've rounded up our favourite cookbooks to give us the inspiration we need to get our creative juices flowing and not throw in the (kitchen) towel.
From renowned chefs, kitchen whizzes and baking pros, these cookbooks are chock-full of recipes that will help you elevate your cooking game, teach you some new tricks and revive your love of cooking. Whether you're looking for year-round baking recipes, trying to get into grilling, planning for future get-togethers or just after some simple summer snacks, each of these cookbooks has something special – and delicious – to offer.
Family: New Vegetarian Comfort Food to Nourish Every Day
Bestselling author and salad queen Hetty McKinnon's cookbook, Family: New Vegetarian Comfort Food to Nourish Every Day, aims to take the planning out of picnics. McKinnon is famous for Arthur Street Kitchen, her independent home-delivery business in London that focuses on internationally inspired vegetarian food. McKinnon’s book swaps out the usual cold sandwiches with more sophisticated picnic pickings like roasted cauliflower and asparagus gnocchi.
Charcoal: New Ways to Cook with Fire
For the aspiring grill master, we've chosen a book that takes the intimidation out of cooking over charcoal. Chef Josiah Citrin translates the vibe – culinary and otherwise – of his casual Venice, California grill house to the pages of Charcoal: New Ways to Cook with Fire. It offers accessible recipes for getting that “kiss of fire” on vegetables and meat.
Kitchen Party: Effortless Recipes for Every Occasion
Mary Berg, a MasterChef Canada winner herself and host of the cooking show Mary’s Kitchen Crush, promises us that hosting a celebratory meal doesn’t have to be as daunting as an on-air cooking competition. With her cookbook Kitchen Party: Effortless Recipes for Every Occasion Berg shares recipes that’ll impress a crowd while still being approachable to those of us that don’t consider ourselves expert chefs.
Kitchen Party is inspired by Berg’s notion that dinner parties revolve around the kitchen with friends popping in to help, chat or grab another drink from the fridge. In our experience, the best parties end in the kitchen too with that nth bottle of wine getting uncorked while guests fork at leftovers of your tasty creations. Although, given Mary Berg’s delectable recipes, there might not be any leftovers to pick at.
For Kosher Style, Toronto food personality, bakery owner and journalist Amy Rosen brings us recipes to help us channel our inner bubbe. Her recipes may be firmly rooted in Jewish tradition, but these hearty creations effortlessly cross cultures to find a well-deserved place on any modern kitchen table.
Feast: Food of the Islamic world
In Feast: Food of the Islamic world, acclaimed food writer Anissa Helou has managed to show the impact Islamic culture has had on the culinary world through the ages. The stories behind the recipes add historical context for this cookbook that won her a James Beard International Cookbook Award.
Bangkok Local: Cult recipes from the streets that make the city
Sarin Rojanametin and Jean Thamthanakorn
Authors Sarin Rojanametin and Jean Thamthanakorn take us on a deep-dive into the bustling streets of one of Southeast Asia’s most important food cities. The beauty of Bangkok Local: Cult recipes from the streets that make the city is that it covers many lesser-known Thai dishes that make Bangkok one of the most famous street food cities in the world. The food is equal parts vibrant and spicy.
Rocky Mountain Cooking: Recipes to Bring Canada's Backcountry Home
Katie Mitzel started her career as a lodge assistant, but realized that if she wanted to keep doing what she loved she would have to upgrade her skill set. So she put on her oven mitts and started work in the hectic world of backcountry kitchens. Over the years, Mitzel would go on to work as a lodge chef at some of Canada’s most prestigious outdoor playgrounds, including Skoki Lodge, Battle Abbey, Mistaya, Assiniboine and Shadow Lake Lodge. She shares the catalogue of mouthwatering recipes she built, inspired by the rugged natural beauty outside her kitchen window, in her latest cookbook, Rocky Mountain Cooking: Recipes to Bring Canada's Backcountry Home.
While Mitzel’s dishes – which range from hearty soups to ambitious desserts – often had to be adjusted for factors like altitude and lack of water or electricity, the recipes in her cookbook are just as accessible for less adventurous cooks. And if Rocky Mountain Cooking is the closest you get to outdoorsy this summer, we’re confident that the rustic flavours you rustle up for family and friends will indulge all your backcountry fantasies from the comfort of your kitchen.
Bake the Seasons
In Bake the Seasons, by Marcella DiLonardo, the Niagara-region recipe developer and food stylist brings us simple yet delicious dishes inspired by local, seasonal ingredients. Her recipes are honest and unfussy – they work well in weeknight meals and dinners to impress guests.