Mario Batali is the orange-Croc’d man who needs no introduction. He’s on TV every day with The Chew; he hosts the excellent cooking show Moltissimo for Munchies; and he has a restaurant empire, in addition to being one of the owners of the growing Eataly. Not to mention, of course, that he’s written quite a few cookbooks himself. But what influenced this proto-food influencer? To celebrate the re-opening of Eataly’s Manzo—which features tons of exciting local produce and charcuterie, in addition to a great vermouth list—we asked him for his essential cookbooks.
The Splendid Table, Lynne Rossetto Kasper
Lynne Roseetto Kasper has been known for her radio show that shared the same name as her first cookbook, The Splendid Table. While the way she captures the delight of Northern Italian Cooking is nothing short of amazing, what I love most about this book is her enthusiasm for Emilia Romagna, which parallels my own.
The Zuni Cafe Cookbook, Judy Rogers
This book exhibits the perfect intersection between a beautiful prose and delicious recipes. Judy Rodgers epitomizes what we know and love about classic California cuisine: local, seasonal and uncomplicated dishes. Her view about food is not only refreshing but also infectious.
How to Cook Everything, Mark Bittman
If I were to take one book on a deserted island, How to Cook Everything would be it. Bittman’s work is just as thoughtful as it is comprehensive and is oftentimes what I grab first from my cookbook collection.
An Omelette and a Glass of Wine, Elizabeth David
An ode to simple ingredients and the pleasure of cooking. Elizabeth David’s collection of essays is influential and something that I’ve relished since the first time I read her book. I recommend this to anyone who wants to learn how to effectively describe the joy of cooking.
White Heat, Marco Pierre White
If you want to experience the urgency of a professional kitchen without putting on a chef coat, read White Heat, written by my former boss, Marco Pierre White. White’s demanding energy comes through the page, providing an experience that is uniquely intense and informational. You will without a doubt be kept on your toes.