Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For most chefs, summer in the Valley means a chance to take a much-needed break before the busy season returns. And like us, many enjoying whittling away the hot summer days with a good read.
So what books made this summer's must-read list for Valley chefs? Lots of food and cooking-related ones to be sure, but also a few you might not expect. Perhaps you'll find a recommendation or two that inspires. Enjoy.
Josh Hebert, Chef and Owner, Posh
I have a book that my wife got me not long ago called, The Art of Fermentation [by Sandor Ellix Katz]. It's about tofus, vinegars, and misos. I'm excited to read it. Need more culture in my life -- pun intended.
Bryan Dooley, Chef and Owner, Bryan's Black Mountain Barbecue
Call me Ishmael, but right now I'm re-reading Moby Dick. Definitely not casual reading, but really cool. After that, I have some Ray Bradbury and a pile of Bukowski waiting for me.
Aaron Eckburg, Owner, Go Lb. Salt
Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison, American Wine by Jancis Robinson, and a couple of hobby farming books. We're still moving in the direction of establishing the ﬁrst trufﬁere in the desert Southwest. Gardening, viniculture, and hobby farming are an integral part of that plan.
Chef Theresa Wille, 32 Shea
I've been meaning to read The Flavor Bible [by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg] for sometime now and I finally picked up a copy. A great reference book to have around. You can form a better understanding of the compatibility between ingredients.
Chef Chris Nicosia, Sassi
Just started Dan Brown's Inferno. It's the first time in a long time that I'm reading something that isn't industry-related.
Chef Jeff Pilditch, Bistro 24
Smoke and Pickle by Chef Edward Lee, who is best known for his appearance on season nine of Top Chef. It's a great read filled with tales of Lee's experience in the restaurant world and highlights of his Louisville-style Southern cooking.
Christopher Gross, Chef and Owner, Christopher's Restaurant & Crush Lounge
White Truffles for Winter [by N.M. Kelby]. It's about chef Auguste Escoffier. Great historical info as well as fiction.
Greg LaPrad, Chef and Owner, Overland Trout, Sonoita
I'm currently reading Chasing the Chiles: Hot Spots along the Pepper Trail by Gary Nabham. Up next is Michael Pollan's Cooked. Hopefully I'll have some time to fit in some Robert Heinlein novels.
Chef Charles Kassels, El Chorro
I'm tackling a classic: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.
Nicholas Schaus, Chef and Partner, Twisted Rose Winery & Eatery
Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London's Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi, an up-and-coming chef in London and a great vegetarian read.
Chef Gregory Wiener, Top of the Rock
Modernist Cuisine [by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young, Maxime Bilet], Try This at Home: Recipes From My Head to Your Plate [by Richard Blais], and fantasy football draft guides.
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Lisa Khnanisho Owner, Tryst Café
Who Will Cry When you Die? by Robin Sharma, Good, Better, Blessed: Living with Purpose, Power and Passion by Joel Osteen, and whatever my hands land on by Napoleon Hill.