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By Thomas Keller. (Artisan, $50)

Widely regarded as one of America's finest chefs, Thomas Keller, the chef and owner of The French Laundry and Bouchon, in Yountville, Napa Valley, has come up with a gorgeous coffee-table tome for cooks who are serious about sophisticated bistro food, and for those who wish to "satisfy a craving for a perfectly made quiche, or a simple but irresistible roasted chicken." Keller's professional culinary career began in Florida, where he spent most of his childhood. He first started cooking in his teens, working for his mother in the Palm Beach restaurant she managed. In 1983, Keller moved to France to further his culinary education. He served "estagiere" apprenticeships in ten Michelin-starred restaurants, including Taillevent, Guy Savoy and Le Pre Catalan.


By Joan Nathan (Schocken, $29.95)

Jewish holidays are defined by food, and Jewish cooking guru, Joan Nathan, serves up symbolic and sumptuous dishes from Jewish kitchens around the world, with local culinary traditions of every place in which Jews have lived. This collection is a tour through the Jewish holidays as told in food. For each holiday, Nathan presents menus from different cuisines-Moroccan, Russian, German, and contemporary American are just a few. A wonderful raconteur, Nathan spices these delicious recipes -Algerian Chicken Tagine with Quinces or Seven-Fruit Haroset from Surinam- with delightful stories about the people who have kept these traditions alive. Joan Nathan is the author of eight books, including Jewish Cooking in America, which won the coveted IACP Julia Child Award as Best Cookbook of the Year and also the James Beard Award for Best American Cookbook. She appears on television cooking programs, including her own PBS series based on Jewish Cooking in America, and lectures around the country. She is a frequent contributor to the New York Times and also writes for such publications as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Cooking Light, and Hadassah magazine.

Italian Cooking Wisdom from the Legendary Teacher's Master Classes, With 120 of Her Irresistible New Recipes

By Marcella Hazan (Harper Collins, $29.95)

At age 80, the godmother of Italian cooking in America shares secrets and advice previously offered to her students. With recipes that never fail and a fidelity rare in a world mad for style and fusion, Marcella champions pure Italian simplicity, as in a mussel soup from Sardinia with its odd touch of grated pecorino, or Savoy cabbage simply baked with Parmesan cheese, or with pan-roasted lamb shanks and sun-dried tomatoes.


By Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter, $35)

Hearty boeuf Bourguignon served in deep bowls over a garlic-rubbed slice of baguette toast; decadently rich croque monsieur, eggy and oozing with cheese; gossamer crème brulee, its sweetness offset by a brittle burnt-sugar topping. What Ina Garten is known for adding a special twist to familiar dishes, while also streamlining the recipes so you spend less time in the kitchen but still emerge with perfection. And that's exactly what she offers in Barefoot in Paris. Ina's kir royale includes the unique addition of raspberry liqueur-a refreshing alternative to the traditional crème de cassis. Her vichyssoise is brightened with the addition of zucchini, and her chocolate mousse is deeply flavored with the essence of orange. Barefoot in Paris is suffused with Ina's love of the city, of the bustling outdoor markets and alluring little shops, of the bakeries and fromageries and charcuteries-of the wonderful celebration of food that you find on every street corner, in every neighborhood. So take a trip to Paris with the perfect guide-the Barefoot Contessa herself-in her most personal book yet. Ina Garten is the author of three previous bestselling cookbooks, including the New York Times bestseller, Barefoot Contessa Family Style. Her highly rated cooking series, Barefoot Contessa, airs on Food Network.


By Patrick O'Connell (Bulfinch Press, $45).

After 25 years at the helm of the world-class eatery and guest house, the Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Va., O'Connell has established himself as one of the country's best chefs. His beautifully illustrated book is about entertaining: 150 recipes in the book were selected and organized with that goal in mind, grouped from snacks and canapes, to soups, cold and hot first courses all the way through to desserts. O'Connell never had any formal training as a chef, but cooking just seemed to come naturally to him. He writes that he's better equipped to guide home cooks because, like many of us, he taught himself to cook by reading cookbooks and knows which of his tricks, techniques and shortcuts will work in our kitchens.

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