Good Reads or no........

Joined Jan 21, 2002
Out of the following books, which are worth picking up? :

The New Professional Chef

Professional Cooking

Advanced Professional Cooking

On Cooking

The Professional Pastry Chef

Professional Baking
Joined May 26, 2001
We used the Wayne Gisslen books at school (Professional Cooking; Professional Baking) -- much earlier editions than are available now. It seemed as though the baking book was just excerpted from the bigger Cooking one. In general, I was not that impressed with either. The organization made it difficult to find recipes.

That said, of course I still have them, and still refer to them from time to time for basic information. I also have On Cooking and The New Professional Chef, which, again, I use for reference, but only rarely.

If you can get any of them CHEAP, do. But don't get all of them at full price if you can avoid it.


Staff member
Joined Oct 7, 2001
I would hold off on purchasing any of these books, if you are planning on attending culinary school. Many of these books are used by culinary schools as textbooks, so you might recieve them when you enroll. I have to agree with Suzanne, I don't find these books particularly user-friendly, but I do reference them for basic information every once in awhile. Wayne Gisslen's "Professional Baking" seems to have gotten better in some of the later editions. The one I had had many recipes that didn't really work out very well, but I have heard that those recipes have been fixed in new editions.
Joined Feb 6, 2002
I have the following:

The New Professional Chef 6ed
Cooking Essentials for the New Professional Chef
On Food and Cooking
Garde Manger: Art and Craft of the Cold Kitchen
The Professional Chef's Knife Kit
The Professional Chef's Techniques of Healthy Cooking
Culinary Math

Just wanted to let you know that all of these books are textbooks of the Culinary Institute of America. I received the Cooking Essentials as part of my course. Dont buy them now if you intend on going to cooking school. I bought them because I cannot afford to attend at this moment (3 little babies).
:) I use them for reference and refreshing my knowledge on the basic cooking skills. Hope this helps.

Oh Yeah, I forgot I also have The Professional Pastry Chef and Professional Baking? (not sure of the last title without going to look) more reference books.
Joined Jan 21, 2002
Much thanx 4 all the replies!!!! ShawtyCat, of the last two books you mentioned (Pro Baking & Pro Pastry Chef) which is the better of them? As far as not getting books and waiting for school, it isn't an issue at my school. I am attending a community college and we're not using these books. I believe they are all CIA books too (as someone mentioned). I went ahead and ordered "The Professional Chef, 7th ed." anyway. I've been told by a couple of instructors this book is invaluable. For $45 bucks I hope they're right.
Joined Feb 6, 2002
First let me say that $45 is now cheap for the New Professional Chef..I think it was 60 something a few months ago.

My Pro Baking deals more with formulas and ratios while the Pro Pastry Chef reads like the New Pro Chef. I think Pro Baking is a lot more straight forward. I use Pro Pastry for ideas and reference. That's just my humble opinion. Im becoming embarrassed by the number of cooking reference books I have.

I would suggest getting Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking though. He has explained to me the "whys" of cooking and it is a cheap $18 in paperback at Barnes and Noble. Or Cookwise by ?. Someone can provide you with her name. Important to know why your food does what it does.

My next two books to get are:

Escoffier: La Guide Culinaire
Chefs Book of Yields, Measurements and Formulas?


Joined Apr 4, 2000
Have a look at In The Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley. It's very informative. The recipes are great too.
Joined May 26, 2001
author is Shirley Corriher. Excellent book for understanding the science behind cooking -- written for anyone to understand.
Joined Apr 19, 2001
I think I've read everything Jacques Pepin has ever written, and learn something new with each new publication. I love the way he breaks down technique, and it's been fascinating to see his cuisine change and evolve over the years. Doesn't hurt that he's a manly man!!;)
Joined Mar 17, 2002
Personally, I love my On Cooking text. Its been an all around guide but the best part is the cd-rom that comes with it. That's one of the best tools for a chef.


Joined Apr 6, 2001
"The Professional Chef, 7th ed." is indeed a great book, and well worth $45. The detailed descriptions and pictures are excellent. Like many others in this group, I have a large library of cookbooks, and this is definitely a standout among my collection. My only regret is that I didn't buy this book sooner.

I also second ShawtyCat's recommendation of Harold McGee's book. While celluar pictures via microscopes might not be for everyone, the science is indeed fascinating and, of course, very important in producing the best product.
Top Bottom