Starting with my favorite on the list, Danler’s debut novel is the thrilling story of a year spent working in a famous downtown New York restaurant. At 22 years old, Tess is thrust into the wild world of restaurant life. Based on the author’s time spent working at the Union Square Café, this book is full of delicious and devilish details of the food industry.
If you’ve watched The Bear, you’ve also probably read late Anthony Bourdain’s bestselling memoir, Kitchen Confidential. Aside from his memoirs, there is very little information about his personal life. No one knew him better than his producer and director, Tom Vitale. This behind-the-scenes look at Bourdain is the closest we can get to another episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.
Whether you grew up watching Julia Child on PBS or became acquainted with her cooking through the hit book and movieJulie & Julia, you’ll be sure to love this peek into Child’s life in France. Her endearing personality shines bright in these pages.
Kwame Onwuachi shot to fame after appearing as a contestant on Top Chef. Before he was gracing the silver screen, Onwuachi grew up in the Bronx, spent part of his childhood in Nigeria, and went on to train in some of the most renowned kitchens in the US. This memoir takes readers through the journey of opening and closing his first restaurant, all before the age of 27.
The Bear does a great job at exposing the often-toxic environment of the restaurant world. If you’re looking for a different take, check out Victoria James’s memoir about being the youngest sommelier in the world and her time at a Michelin-starred restaurant.
Stanley Tucci has published two cookbook, and now takes readers into the stories behind the recipes he shares. This book reflects on his acting career (he is in multiple foodie films, including Julie & Julia) and his own food journeys across the world. This one will make your stomach growl.
If you’ve already binge watched Ugly Delicious on Netflix, it’s time to read David Chang’s memoir. Chang reflects on his childhood, the opening of Momofuku Noodle Bar in 2004, and the ups and downs of success. This book is filled with candor, grit, and heart – much like The Bear.
Expert culinary historian Michael W. Twitty takes readers on a journey through the history of Southern cuisine. The discussion around who owns Southern cuisine is at the heart of the most contentious racial discussions in America today. Twitty’s reflection on his own ancestry is especially fascinating. Don’t miss this one.
This list would not be complete without The Bear’s guest star and producer, Matty Matheson. His debut cookbook includes memories of the foods that have defined his career as one of the positive faces in the food scene today. I especially loved the look into his childhood in Nova Scotia. Bring your appetite.