What book would you choose?

Joined Jan 21, 2002
I can choose either one

"The Professional Chef, Seventh Edition"
(by the way, what's the difference between the 6th & 7th editions?)


"On Cooking: Techniques From Expert Chefs, Trade Version (3rd Edition)"

which one is the better book?

Joined Jul 23, 2002
I have the pro chef 6th edition. I have not read the other book. If you are going to school or working with the acf I'd definitly recomend the pro chef. It's the CIA's handbook and the acf refers to it a lot for compotitions and such.
Joined Oct 23, 2003
if you can find a copy of pro chef 5th edition i think it's put together much better than the later pubs.
hth, danny


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
I've got the pro chefs. It's a pretty good book, but I can't compare it to the other as I've never seen that one.

Overall, I thought the CIA's Techniques of Healthy Cooking a better book for my purposes.

What are your goals for this book?

Joined Mar 12, 2004
I have a pretty good collection of cooking instruction books. Here are my top 3 in the order I would recommend them for anyone:

1. The Professional Chef
2. The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Reinhart
3. Think Like a Chef by Colicchio

Your mileage may vary.
Joined Jan 21, 2002
My goals for acquiring one of these books (all I can afford right now) is to do two things mainly.

1: Prepare for ACF exams both written and practical to move up in certification.

2: To learn more in-depth food knowledge to become a better cook/chef and really be a kitchen technician.

I looked at the books that the ACF draws their questions from. While "On Cooking" is listed and "The Professional Chef" is not I can't help but think that "The Professional Chef" may be the Wal-Mart of culinary books. That's to say the book is almost a complete reference. There are few books that various chefs have recommended to me. I already have McGee's book as well as "Culinary Artistry", the late Dr. Cullen's book on management and Professional Baking (ok that was a school book and thus I had to buy it). But the top two that almost everyone says I should not be without are "On Cooking" and "The Professional Chef".
Joined Oct 28, 1999
I have actually, believe it or not, done a side by side comparison of the two. Here is what I have concluded: On Cooking, is well suited for student cooks as well as seasoned home cooks. There is adequate coverage of fundamentals, including recipe reading, ingredient identification as well as various methods of heat transfer. Pro Chef (v 7) covers food safety in a bit more depth, but also covers technique a little more comprehensively. That said, depending on the level of instruction needed for any given task, I think both books are good investments.
Joined May 26, 2001
I give a slight edge to On Cooking, of which I have the second edition, over PC (6th and 7th eds):
  1. It includes nutritional analysis for each recipe -- very helpful to know if you want to figure out what's low-fat or -carb or whatever.
  2. The photographs are all in focus -- don't laugh: you can actually SEE what the finished dish is supposed to look like, which you can't always in PC
  3. Overall, I think the pictures and graphics are easier to figure out, and more helpful. For example, OC actually SHOWS you what the liquid should look like for poaching, simmering, and boiling.
  4. I prefer the style in which the recipes are written.
  5. You know who is responsible: both for the overall text and recipes (there are only two authors, not a committee) and for the special, extra recipes (attributed to specific chefs).
Of course, both books tell you everything you need to know about everything. ;) I just prefer the way OC does it.

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