While there are tons of gadgets, kitchen tools and specialty grocery items you can gift your favourite foodie this season, there’s nothing quite like the promise of that next favourite recipe. For this, we’ve caringly selected the best cookbooks to inspire your gourmand’s cooking, baking, mixing and much more — no matter where their area of interest (or growth) lies. There is something for every taste.
Start Here: Instructions for Becoming a Better Cook by Sohla El-Waylly
An excellent info-packed and practical guide to better cooking by modern-day foodie legend, recipe developer, and former restaurant chef Sohla El-Waylly, Start Here will help you (or a loved one) embark on your journey to levelling up your cooking. In it, you’ll find a dozen technique-themed chapters — everything from “Temperature Management 101” and “Break it Down & Get Saucy” to “Go to Brown Town,” “All About Butter,” and “Getting to Know Dough” and Sohla’s science-based explanations for the hows and whys of cooking. Sohla shares her savoury and sweet recipes (more than 200 of them), including Crispy-Skinned Salmon with Radishes & Nuoc Cham, Charred Lemon Risotto, Fruity-Doodle Cookies and Masa & Buttermilk Tres Leches. As an added idea, you could gift one and keep one, and embark on a joint discovery of Sohla’s cooking and techniques as a way to bond with your foodie of choice.
Make Every Dish Delicious: Modern Classics and Essential Tips for Total Kitchen Confidence by Lesley Chesterman
This gem has been shortlisted for the 2023 Taste Canada Awards and for good reason. Lesley Chesterman (Montreal’s renowned food critic) offers her selection of classic favourites, perfected. Filled with tips and how-to’s, it’ll serve up ideas on what to try next, with no fuss: find roast chicken to the most succulent brownie, and many must-tries in-between.
A Generous Meal: Modern Recipes for Dinner Hardcover by Christine Flynn
The national bestseller features more than 100 recipes by chef Christine Flynn. She shows readers how to transform the simple to the memorable in her selection of easy and guided recipes. From crowd-pleasing starters like Butter Beans in Salsa Verde or Warm Chorizo in Sidra, to vegetable-forward meals like Spicy Oven Charred Cabbage and Lemons to Seafood-centric Cod and Zucchini in Curry Coconut Broth, to meaty mains like Crispy Chicken Thighs over Vinegar Beans and finally dessert: Polenta Biscuits with Sweet Corn Cream and Strawberries, you’ll find something to love.
Go-To Dinners: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten
Food Network fan-favourite and New York Times Bestselling author and home cook Ina Garten’s latest is a truly a gift that keeps giving. These are the Barefoot Contessa’s go-to recipes for delicious, hassle-free meals that are tried and tested. Her inspiration for the book came from those quiet nights during the pandemic that inspired her to re-think her approach to dinner. You’ll discover freeze-ahead, make-ahead and prep-ahead dinners, plus ones that are quick and easy last minute meals. You’ll find Overnight Mac & Cheese, Tuscan White Bean Soup and more.
“My Wish On a Plate” by Ty Chauvin
Give a gift to someone you love and help make someone else’s wish a reality through the Make-A-Wish Canada foundation. Lovingly created and authored by Canadian teen chef Ty Chauvin, the cookbook is chalk-full of recipes — many inspired by his personal idols, foodie dad Bernie and favourite chefs, like Food Network star Mark McEwan. You’ll find a wide range of delicious yet easy-to-follow recipes for everything from apps to mains to desserts. There are recipes for every occasion, inspired by a variety of different cultures. Think: Coq Au Vin, Jerk Chicken, Thai Basil Pork, Salted Caramel Tarts and so much more! In the cookbook, you’ll also find family recipes from Ty’s grandmother Meme, including her pea soup, dumplings and other delights. The best part? A portion of the proceeds will be donated to organizations dear and near to Ty: Make-A-Wish Canada, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and North Eastern Ontario Kids Foundation (NEO). To donate and purchase a digital copy of “My Wish on a Plate!,” visit makeawish.ca.
Fraiche Food, Fuller Hearts: Wholesome Everyday Recipes Made With Love by Jillian Harris and Tori Wesszer
This bestseller by former host of HGTV’s Love it or List It Jillian Harris and her creative partner Tori Wesszer features 135 feel-good recipes inspired by cozy memories and joyful meals with their large, close-knit family. The recipes are modern, “healthy-ish,” often plant-forward and feature hacks their moms and granny mastered to simplify the process. The focus falls on fresh, whole foods like Baked Crispy Cauliflower Sandwiches, Vegan Mac and Cheeze, Tropical Tofu Bowls, Sheet-Pan Breakfast Pizza, Fish Tacos, and Butternut Squash Gyros.
Eat With Us: Mindful Recipes to Make Every Meal an Experience by Philip Lago and Mystique Mattai
Philip Lago and Mystique Mattai are known for their creative takes on bringing dining out indoors via their recipes on the site, their web series Dining In and Menu Mashup as well as and their blog Chef Sous Chef. With their latest cookbook, the husband and wife creative duo encourage a slower, more mindful approach to cooking and eating together. They embrace the connective experience cooking can introduce and use it as their guiding philosophy in the kitchen and throughout the book. The pair share their simple, stunning recipes as well as the memories that fueled them, inspired by the rich, multicultural city they live in. The cookbook is divided into sections like simple weekday meals, comfort food for the soul, lavish special occasions, al fresco (dining outdoors), and feasts (larger parties). Expect the likes of Baked Eggs in Tomatillo Sauce with Bacon, Channa Curry with Coconut Milk, and Fig Panzanella with Ricotta and Basil.
tawâw: Progressive Indigenous Cuisine by Shane M. Chartrand
Dive into tawâw: Progressive Indigenous Cuisine, where chef Shane M. Chartrand invites you to step into his kitchen and discover the traditions of Indigenous cuisine through his eyes (he himself was born to Cree parents and raised by a Métis father and Mi’kmaw-Irish mother). Learn about the cultural practices that inform generations of passed-down recipes and the rich and varied history of Indigenous cuisine.
Niqiliurniq: A Cookbook from Igloolik by Micah Arreak, Annie Désilets, Lucy Kappianaq, Glenda Kripanik, and Kanadaise Uyarasuk
Brought to life by five women from Igloolik, Nunavut, this cookbook reflects the culinary traditions of local food found in the Arctic circle (think: caribou, seal, and Arctic char), complemented by ingredients that exist in local grocery stores. The book explains safe handling and storage of the food, as well as sharing insights on how to build a healthy, nutritious diet, as well as meal plans, building on the foundations of Indigenous cuisine. Niqiliurniq features recipes like Arctic char pizza to caribou chilli for the whole family to enjoy.
Related: Inuvialuit-Style Macaroni Salad
New Indian Basics: 100 Traditional and Modern Recipes from Arvinda's Family Kitchen by Preena Chauhan and Arvinda Chauhan
Arvinda and Preena Chauhan are a mother-daughter duo behind Arvinda’s premium Indian spice blends and the pair have thoughtfully curated this Taste Canada award winner. The result reflects the decades of experience in their vibrant recipes and tips, allowing anyone, from beginners to experts, to learn the basics of both classic and modern Indian cuisine. Spices are the heart of this cookbook, and you can expect recipes such as Indian Brunch & Eggs, Chai-Spiced Apple Buckwheat Pancakes with Maple Cream or Indian-Style Baked Eggs in a richly spiced tomato sauce and so much more.
Yawd: Modern Afro-Caribbean Recipes by Adrian Forte
Get your taste buds ready for bright, bold delicious recipes that will warm you from the inside out: Jamaican-born chef and culinary consultant Adrian Forte shares more than 100 comfort food favourites that add his personal touch to Caribbean staples. You’ll see Adrian work in more African ancestral ingredients in recipes like Ackee & Saltfish Fritters or Okra Pilaf, or Caribbean takes on other classics with Oxtail Gnocchi, Pepper Shrimp Paella or Jerk-Marinated Chicken Coq au Vin. And then there’s the Cheesy Caribbean Crab Dip — the ultimate crowd pleaser.
Sabai: 100 Simple Thai Recipes for Any Day of the Week by Pailin Chongchitnant
The latest from YouTube fave, best-selling author and trained chef, Pailin Chongchitnant, Sabai: 100 Simple Thai Recipes for Any Day of the Week is created around the notion of sabai (that state of being when you’re at ease, comfortable and relaxed). Pai’s goal is to empower anyone to make Thai food — recipes like Green Curry Chicken with Winter Melon and Old-School Pad Gaprao (Holy Basil Stir-Fry). Pai is encouraging and detailed in her delivery, and the recipes are designed for the busy and include helpful QR codes that link to her instructional YouTube videos. You’ll also find sections on snackable appetizers, snappy mains, simple yet satisfying desserts, and a section on Thai pantry staples, common ingredient substitutions and the keys to any balanced Thai meal: recipe pairings that hit those sweet, salty, sound and spicy notes.
“The Book of Sichuan Chili Crisp: Spicy Recipes and Stories from Fly" By Jing's Kitchen” by Jing Gao
This is chef Jing Gao’s personal guide through Sichuan flavours. While these recipes are rooted in tradition of Gao’s heritage, they are made with a modern twist. The entrepreneur behind Fly By Jing’s savoury, spicy Sichuan Chili Crisp delivers 85 hot and spicy recipes that cover everything from drinks to dessert. You’ll discover snacks like Zhong Dumplings and Deviled Tea Eggs, to Hongshao Carnitas Tacos, Kung Pao Shrimp, Fish Fragrant Crispy Eggplant and Spicy Scallion Oil Noodles. For sweeter fare, there is Chili Crisp Sundae with Fish Sauce Caramel Brittle, Poached Pear in Sichuan Pepper Syrup and a Baijiu Negroni.
Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child
Originally published in 1961 and one of those seminal pieces that’s now referenced and entrenched in pop culture, Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking is a perfect gift for any foodie who knows Western culinary history (or is curious to discover it), or is a fan of Chopped: Julia Child’s Kitchen. It’s also perfect for those who are trying to get a handle on French techniques. This first volume (there are two) features 524 recipes — cornerstones of French cuisine — and more than 100 instructive illustrations to guide aspiring chefs and home cooks alike.
Related: Julia Child’s Chocolate Souffle
Where the River Narrows: Classic French and Nostalgic Québécois Recipes From St. Lawrence Restaurant Hardcover by J-C Poirier
Where the River Narrows pays tribute to Chef Jean-Christophe (J-C) Poirier’s heritage and home province, Québec. This is, after all, where J-C’s love for the nostalgic beauty of French cooking began. In this debut cookbook, he shares recipes from both cultures, Québécois and French, and the connections that bind them. Expect gems from his Michelin-starred Vancouver restaurant, St. Lawrence, or his kitchen at home.
Danni's Juke Joint Comfort Food Cookbook: Modern-Day Recipes, Ole Skool Flavas by Danni Rose
Food Network personality Danni Rose’s Southern-fare cookbook is packed with memories, family history, hilarious anecdotes and of course the food that inspired her journey: church potlucks and her daddy’s juke joint, Haywood’s Place. Find the types of recipes that have earned Danni her following: Cheddar Pancakes with BBQ Pulled Pork, Daddy’s Fried Cheese Grits, Cajun Deviled Eggs, Spatchcocked Whole Fried Chicken, Ole Skool Mac ’n’ Cheese and much, much more.
Craving Vegan: 101 Recipes to Satisfy Your Appetite the Plant-Based Way by Sam Turnbull
A great recipe book for vegans and non-vegans alike, Craving Vegan will have you turning to flavourful and succulent recipes like Vegan Buttermilk Fried Oyster Mushrooms, Double-Potato Cheesy Gnocchi, Tofu Tikka Masala and Almost Instant Chocolate Mousse. The book is centred around satisfying any craving you may have — be it carby, cheesy, creamy spicy and more — with 101 simple yet creative recipes.
Farmhouse Vegetables: A Vegetable-Forward Cookbook by Michael Smith
Awarding-winning farm-to-table chef Michael Smith’s ode to vegetables is a collection of tasty, full-flavoured recipes that make veggies the star of this latest recipe book. The dishes are inspired by his culinary farm at the Inn at Bay Fortune, and include ideas and techniques to take any home cook’s skills to the next level. The vegetable-forward collection includes mains, sides, as well as drinks and desserts, including Kabocha Squash and Ancho Cider Broth with sage, Pumpkin Seed Goat Cheese Pesto, and Spicy Roasted Chickpeas, Lentil Soup With Pea and Mint Fritters, and Lentil Sprouts and even Ice Cream Sandwiches With Carrot Cake Cookies and Parsnip Ice Cream.
30-Minute Low-Carb Dinners: 75 Easy-to-Prepare Meals that are Healthy, Delicious and Fast by Valerie Azinge
Food Network Canada recipe developer, bestselling cookbook author and the founder of My Digital Kitchen, Valerie Azinge’s 30-Minute Low-Carb Dinners will guide you through cutting carbs and eating healthier, without sacrificing flavour. There are 75 delicious dinner options to choose from — all ready to eat in 30 minutes or less. Valerie guides you through tips that cut prep time, lean into veggie substitutions like cauliflower mash and zucchini noodles, and show you how to cook with low-calorie swaps like palmini and coconut aminos. Try Valerie’s, Zesty Mint Lettuce Lamb Burgers, Apple-Onion Pork Tenderloin, Red Curry Turkey Meatballs with Thai Peanut Sauce and more.
Related: Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe
Cook It Wild: Sensational Prep-Ahead Meals for Camping, Cabins, and the Great Outdoors by Chris Nuttall-Smith
Perfect for the outdoorsy type who doesn’t like to compromise their eating when adventuring, Cook It Wild meets your foodie where they are in their cooking journey. Forget canned beans or freeze-dried meals. Food writer and outdoorsman Chris Nuttall-Smith packs the book with field-tested advice, prep-ahead recipes and flavour-packed dishes. Think: herby Lemon Chicken and Fire-Baked Sticky Buns, Campfire Paella, Sweet-Tangy Lemon Ribs or Sizzling Cumin Lamb Kebabs paired with Puff-and-Serve Chapati. Each recipe is divided into “at home” and “at camp” sections.
Dad in the Kitchen: Over 100 Delicious Family Recipes You'll Love to Make and They'll Love to Eat by Cory Vitiello and Chris Johns
Described as “for dads, by dads,” this cookbook is also for the whole family. Its aim is to empower dads everywhere to claim their home chef title and get some amazing meals on the table in the process. It’s co-authored by acclaimed chef and restaurateur Cory Vitiello and one of Canada’s most respected food and travel writers, Chris Johns.
Little Critics: What Canadian Chefs Cook for Kids (and Kids Will Actually Eat) by Joanna Fox
For the littlest critics and their families, this kid-approved cookbook has more than 100 options by Canada’s top chefs. While navigating meal options for picky eaters isn’t for the faint of heart, Little Critics will make the process at least a bit easier. Recipes include Jeremy Charles’s go-to stew, Suzanne Barr’s Cauliflower Cheese Bake, Susur Lee’s favourite childhood chicken, Vikram Vij’s Butter Chicken Schnitzel, Chuck Hughes’s Pappardelle Pesto Michael Smith’s showstopper pancakes, plus Anna Olson’s Gourmet Goo Skillet Brownies and more.
Together at SoBo: More Recipes and Stories from Tofino's Beloved Restaurant by Lisa Ahier
The follow-up to award-winning bestseller, The SoBo Cookbook, chef Lisa Ahier welcomes you back to Tofino with a new set of recipes that are unmistakable SoBo (short for “sophisticated bohemian”), and the West Coast surf town that homes it. The recipes draw on local produce, transformed uniquely through Lisa’s southern touch. Featured recipes include the regional Chanterelle and Corn Chowder and the Nettle, Clam and Shrimp Tagliatelle and recipes that evoke Lisa’s Southern childhood in equal measure: Summer Ratatouille and Grilled Peach and Raspberry Melba recipes.
The Living Kitchen: Nourishing Whole-Food Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery by Tamara Green and Sarah Grossman
You may already be familiar with certified nutritionists Tamara Green and Sarah Grossman’s delicious recipes right here on our site, or via their holistic wellness practice, The Living Kitchen in Toronto. The pair’s cookbook is a research-based guide, full of nearly 100 nourishing recipes for healthy eating, and for anyone who may be undergoing a cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery or anyone who is a caregiver. The book dives into the science of the way food impacts our health, and the effects of cancer and is designed to help navigate common side-effects of treatment, including loss of appetite, sore mouth, altered taste buds, nausea, and more.
Anna Olson's Baking Wisdom: The Complete Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Make You a Better Baker (with 150+ Recipes) by Anna Olson
You just can’t go wrong with this #1 bestselling cookbook by Food Network alum and Canada’s most-celebrated baker, Anna Olson. Her Baking Wisdom is the quintessential baking bible any baking enthusiast should have on their counter or shelf. Not only will you find answers to common baking questions, but also more than 150 perfected recipes (savoury as well as sweet), regardless of your level of skill. There are sections on pies and tarts, pastries, cakes, custards and creams, confections, cookies and bars and, of course, breads.
Icing on the Cake: Baking and Decorating Simple, Stunning Desserts at Home by Tessa Huff
Food Network Canada recipe developer, trained baker, photographer and cookbook author, Tessa Huff, shares her showstopping tips and tricks for dessert decoration and presentation, focusing on layer cakes with this baker must-have. Tessa empowers home bakers to get creative, with chapters on elegant cakes and confections, decadent desserts, kids’ cakes and party treats, and celebration cakes and seasonal sweets. You’ll find recipes for Orange Salted Honey Cake, Matcha White Chocolate Cake, Almond Apricot Battenberg Cake, French-Method Macarons along with others that will surely become tomorrow’s favourites.
Simple French Baking: Over 80 Sweet Recipes for The Home Cook by Manon Lagrève
Packed with more than 80 classics, Manon Lagrève makes French baking accessible, regardless of your giftee’s point of entry. Manon shares her favourite family recipes, often passed down by her own mother and grandmothers. From brioche, to éclairs and macarons, galettes and clafoutis, your giftee will appreciate the results as much as the journey.
A Very Prairie Christmas Bakebook: Cookies, Candies, Cakes and More: Vintage Baking to Celebrate the Festive Season Hardcover by Karlynn Johnston
A perfect addition to the counter or shelf of any foodie who also takes their holiday baking to the max, A Very Prairie Christmas Bakebook serves up nostalgia and delicious baking (as well as a few fun cocktails) that are sure to create new favourite memories. There are 120 recipes to fill your foodie with festive cheer, including Candy Cane Blondies, Traditional Whipped Shortbread, Marshmallow Yule Logs, Divinity Candy, Auntie Darlene’s Dark Whisky Fruitcake, and plenty of ideas to make for the best cookie swap yet.
Bake the Seasons: Sweet and Savoury Dishes to Enjoy Throughout the Year: A Baking Book by Marcella DiLonardo
You may know Marcella from her delicious cocktails and comfort food staples, but she also has a thoughtfully crafted bakebook that leans into the best each season has on offer, with Marcella’s signature twist. Inspired by the abundance of the farms, orchards, and gardens of her childhood, you can expect to see sweet and savoury recipes such as indulgent Smoked Gorgonzola and Winter Pear Pizza, Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread to bring to a summer picnic, or stunning holiday cakes.
Super Tonics: 75 Adaptogen-Packed Recipes for Sleep, Beauty, and Wellness by Meredith Youngson
Holistic nutritionist Meredith Youngson shares delicious recipes that deliver nutrients to make you feel your best: from boosting your energy, uplifting your mood, reducing stress, and supporting your all-around well-being plus more. The recipe book doubles as a guide to superfoods and ways to combine them: Strawberry Matcha Latte to the Snickerdoodle Steamer, you and your loved ones will find an array of options to start 2024 on the best note possible.
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