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8 Best Culinary Books for Students and Teachers

The internet is great for culinary information but there is nothing like a good culinary arts book. Not just traditional cookbooks but great books that give information about culinary artistry and cooking skills. Chris had a lot of the favorites in culinary school and we still use them today to create lesson plans.

We’ve rounded up a delectable selection of books that will have your culinary arts high school and FCS students excited. From sizzling recipes to kitchen hacks, these books will turn your classroom into a culinary playground. So grab your aprons, sharpen your knives, and let’s embark on this tasty literary adventure together! 

Books for Teaching the Fundamentals

Let’s start with the cooking fundamentals before we get into the fun stuff! We have these in the classroom and at home as a great quick reference for lesson planning.

1- Culinary Fundamentals– by Johnson and Wales University is a great textbook as a reference. It’s organized in a way that helps you understand the introduction to culinary arts. As an essential guide, it’s great for creating lessons and has some great charts to use. It is basically the first book that should be read before cooking for home cooks and culinary students alike.

The book covers a wide range of culinary topics, from basic cooking techniques to kitchen management and menu planning. It provides a thorough understanding of culinary fundamentals, including knife skills, cooking methods, sauces, stocks, baking, and more. This comprehensive approach ensures that culinary teachers can effectively educate their students on all essential aspects of the culinary arts.

2- Culinary Artistry– by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page is great for menu writing, creating a dish, food pairings, and as a reference. It is great for food seasonality and to know what is in season and what to pair with certain foods. It includes common foods and their ideal pairings. This is one of the great chef books to have on hand in the classroom for food labs as inspiration. It can help students learn all aspects of flavor profiles and herbs and spices to make delicious recipes.

a well-loved copy

Culinary Artistry sparks creativity with its innovative and imaginative ideas for flavor combinations. The book features examples of successful pairings from professional chefs. This can inspire culinary teachers and their students to think outside the box. The kitchen is not only for precise cooking. It is also your student’s creative playground, and “Culinary Artistry” is their paintbrush. Let the flavorful artistry begin!

3- On Food and Cooking The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee–  is the food bible, if you read this book, you know everything about food from the food’s geographical origins to scientific properties, how to store the food, and how to cook the food, it has it all! This is the perfect gift for an aspiring professional chef as it is one of the best reference books out there.  One of the unique aspects of McGee’s book is its scientific approach to food. Culinary teachers can greatly benefit from detailed explanations of chemical reactions, cooking techniques, and the transformation of ingredients. It’s like a cool story that you want to keep reading.

Why Learn About Food Science?

By understanding scientific culinary principles, teachers can provide their students with a deeper understanding of why certain culinary processes occur. It can also help to explain how they affect the final outcome of a dish. This scientific foundation equips teachers with the ability to instill not only practical skills but also a true appreciation for the art of cooking. 

4- Baking and PastryMastering the Art and Craft by The Culinary Institute of America. This authoritative book focuses on the art of baking and pastry, covering everything from basic techniques to advanced creations from renowned pastry chefs. It is an excellent resource for culinary teachers looking to teach the science and artistry of pastry making. Throughout the book, you are treated to stunning visuals that showcase the beauty and intricacy of pastry creations. From flaky croissants to butter puff pastries, the book presents recipes that span various baking traditions.

The book covers a wide range of baking and pastry topics, from fundamental techniques and principles to advanced pastry creations. It provides a thorough understanding of ingredients, equipment, and baking science. It also explains various baking methods, allowing culinary teachers to impart a solid foundation of knowledge to their students.

Step-by-Step Baking Info.

It also gives step-by-step instructions and detailed explanations for various baking methods, such as bread baking, and laminated doughs. The book not only provides traditional, detailed recipes but also offers numerous variations. They will give you ideas for new recipes as well as different flavor profiles and adaptations. This feature encourages creativity and enables students to experiment and develop their own unique pastry creations. They can also experiment with culinary creativity and understand the foundational techniques.

Now for the Fun Cook Books!

5- Salt Fat Acid Heat by Samin Nosrat is a New York Times bestseller. She offers a unique and refreshing perspective on cooking. Nosrat focuses on the fundamental elements that shape the flavors and textures of dishes: salt, fat, acid, and heat. This New York Times bestseller takes a fresh approach to cooking, focusing on the salt, fat, acid, and heat.

Forget about complicated recipes and boring lectures, Samin knows how to simplify culinary concepts and make them exciting. With her witty and relatable style, she’ll have both teachers and students dancing in the kitchen. And hey, if you want to add some extra flavor to your lessons, why not bring the Netflix series adaptation into the mix? Let Samin’s infectious enthusiasm and mouthwatering recipe videos turn your classroom into a culinary showstopper. Get ready to master the art of seasoning, balance, and mouthwatering meals that will make your taste buds tango!

Nosrat’s personal anecdotes and storytelling create a connection between the reader and the subject matter. She makes it easier for teachers to captivate their students’ attention and foster a love for cooking. It can help instill the joy of cooking and how to make good food. It is a fun one to have on your classroom bookshelf for sure!

6- The Flavor Bible–  by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. This book is an indispensable cookbook for culinary teachers. This cookbook is like a treasure map to the most mind-blowing flavor combinations you’ve ever tasted. Forget about following the same old recipe playbook, because this book will unleash your inner flavor alchemist. It’s like having a secret cheat code to unlock the taste buds of the universe! From the wildest spices to the most unexpected pairings, “The Flavor Bible” has got your back. Culinary teachers, get ready to blow your student’s minds with a world of flavors they never knew existed. With this book as your guide, you’ll be the captain of the flavor ship, sailing through uncharted culinary territories. So hoist your spatulas, set your taste buds to “adventure mode,” and let’s dive into a world of flavor!

Furthermore, as one of the relatively new cookbooks it serves as a valuable tool for culinary teachers to foster creativity. By providing flavor combinations, “The Flavor Bible” inspires students to go beyond the confines of traditional pairings and experiments. This stimulates innovation and encourages students to develop their own signature dishes.

7- The Wok by the author of the Food Lab, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, and Chief Culinary Advisor of Serious Eats was one of the best cookbooks of the year in 2023. The Wok offers great recipes for using the wok in the kitchen. It includes many cooking methods such as stir-fry, deep fry, steaming, simmering, and braising. These recipes may just become your classes’ new favorites including Beef Chow Fun, dumplings, Kung Pao Chicken, and Pad Thai. It even explains knife skills. This is a great addition to your Global Cuisine curriculum because it covers a wide variety of Asian cuisine recipes. 

Classic Cook Books Picks

8- Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck. This iconic cookbook has had a significant impact on the culinary world and continues to be an essential resource for culinary teachers. Here’s why “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” is highly regarded for culinary education. The book provides a comprehensive exploration of classic French cooking techniques. It covers a wide range of topics, including knife skills, sauce-making, pastry techniques, and more. Culinary teachers can rely on this book to teach students the foundational techniques of French cuisine. They are widely applicable in many culinary traditions. It offers detailed step-by-step instructions accompanied by illustrations, making it easy for culinary teachers to explain complex procedures to their students.

Why Quality Ingredients Matter

The book’s meticulous approach ensures that students can create recipes and techniques accurately. This helps them build confidence and proficiency in the kitchen. The book emphasizes the importance of using high-quality ingredients as a cornerstone of French cooking. It educates readers about the selection and sourcing of ingredients, highlighting the impact it has on the final dish. Culinary teachers can incorporate ingredient quality into their lessons, teaching students the importance of using fresh, and locally sourced ingredients.

Why These Books Are Great for the Classroom

In a nutshell, culinary books are like magical ingredients in a high school culinary classroom. Just like a pinch of salt can transform a dish, these books have the power to spice up the learning experience for aspiring young chefs. From the classic flavor symphonies in “The Joy of Cooking” to the adventurous journeys through “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat,” these culinary companions offer a treasure trove of knowledge, techniques, and mouthwatering recipes. With these books in hand, culinary teachers can ignite the culinary passions of their high school students. So, grab your aprons and dive into these culinary literary adventures! With the right recipe books, culinary arts education becomes a delectable feast of learning and fun!

Whether it’s flipping through the pages of “Culinary Artistry” for flavor pairing or exploring the art of baking and pastry with “Mastering the Art and Craft,” culinary teachers have a wide array of culinary books at their fingertips. These books not only serve as educational resources but also ignite a sense of culinary curiosity. They can inspire students to unleash their creativity in the kitchen.

best culinary books for culinary arts teachers and culinary arts curriculum high school.

By incorporating these books into their teaching, culinary educators can help their student’s culinary dreams. They can help high school students and foster a lifelong love of cooking. From stir-fries to delectable pastries, these culinary books are the keys that unlock a world of culinary wonders. Every cooking lesson is a delightful and flavorful adventure.

Check out our blog post on Culinary Teacher Must Haves!

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