Training at home

Joined Oct 5, 2010
I am an at home cook. I work my full time job in Healthcare and enjoy cooking for family and friends. You hear lots of terminology about different training types. For example "So and so is classically trained" how would I go about finding information or even a textbook and learning classic technique and recipes?

Thank you



Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
Classic techniques is basically French because it was codified by French cooks. This is what most cooking schools in the US and Europe will teach.

For learning at home without class time, there are two authors I think are best, Wayne Gisslen and James Peterson. A lot of people will recommend cooking textbooks such as the Professional Chef. I think these are better for people with instruction time in class and not a home cook doing it on their own. 
[product="26992"]The Chefs Art Secrets Of Four Star Cooking At Home  [/product]
Wayne Gisslen has written many quality cooking textbooks. This one is written for the home cook. Excellent book. 

James Peterson has written many great cooking books as well. As a starting point, I like his Cooking
[product="6366"]Cooking  [/product]
You can spend a lot of time with the books of these two authors and not go wrong. There's an older version I think was the basis of Cooking, called Essentials of Cooking. Not as recipe heavy, but good on technique. 

There are also some simpler books that are worth considering. 
[product="26994"]The Americas Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook  [/product]
Peterson's book will cover knife skills more than the others. Not as deeply as I think ideal, but it's hard to do it well in a book.  Chad Ward's An Edge in the Kitchen is worth going through at least once as knife skills are the foundation of cooking. 
[product="23461"]An Edge In The Kitchen The Ultimate Guide To Kitchen Knives How To Buy Them Keep Them Razor Sharp And Use Them Like A Pro  [/product]
There's also a decent and free video lesson series from Craftsy on knife skills.

I would start with Peterson's book. Work with it for a month or so. Then try the ATK book. It will seem somewhat simplistic probably, but you should have enough experience at this point to start to pick up on some things they're teaching. Then give Gisslen a whirl. With these sorts of books, it's worth trying a few different ones and then COMING BACK to them a few months later. You'll be a different person and ready to learn things you missed the first time through. You will not get what these books have to offer all at once. You have to sort of grow into them building up the skills and knowledge within you.  Give yourself time to do the growing and you'll appreciate the books more and more on each study. 
Last edited:
Joined Oct 5, 2010
Thank you for all of that information. I will be going through all of that and picking up a couple of those books I'm sure.
Joined Jan 25, 2016
Hey phatch, Looks resourceful listing... /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

I am a fun loving person & love to try new items and want to share & gain knowledge about entertainment & food.

Thanks for sharing this thread here, Lifesavin.
Joined Nov 5, 2007
I agree on Petersen, have "Sauces" and "Splendid Soups".  I don't use them as recipe books, but more as reference and inspiration sources.

Joined Nov 5, 2007
And feel free to make use of this forum. Don't hesitate to ask questions, there is an amazing depth and breadth of experience among the members of this community. Folks are usually willing to help the less experienced. Now if you come off as a lazy student looking for a homework answer, or claim to be a professional chef and haven't figured out how to slice an onion, that's different.  But by and large, we are here to help with your journey towards culinary greatness. Or at least a decent pot of parsnip puree.

Joined Apr 4, 2012
Peterson is a wonderful teacher. I have several of his books and can't recommend him highly enough.

I also like Madeliene Kamman. The Making of a Cook is a classic. There is a newer edition called The New Making of a Cook that is immense and a bit more health conscious.

Not really any pictures, though.

I also like Anne Willan's La Varenne Practique:

More illustrated than Kamman's books but not as painstakingly photographed as the James Peterson book.

I don't own it, but I understand Jacques Pepin's Complete Technique book is quite good, too.


Latest posts

Top Bottom