Local Chefs Share 4 Favorite Cookbooks of 2022

From left: “Flour Power” by Tara Jensen; “King Arthur Baking School: Lessons and Recipes for Every Baker” by King Arthur Baking Co.; “The Wok” by J Kenji Lopez-Alt; “Masa” by Jorge Gaviria.

Writer: Karla Walsh

If you’re seeking a last-minute holiday surprise for your food-loving BFF, a white elephant option that won’t get regifted, or a host present that will certainly be put to good use, consider a cookbook.

With this topic in mind—but also aware that the millions of books sold online and in stores can be overwhelming—I turned to a few local food pros with impressive cookbook libraries to help us narrow down the ideas. Here are their picks for the best new cookbooks of 2022.

Chelsea Smith, owner of Bread by Chelsa B., suggests Flour Power” by Tara Jensen: “The instructions in this book are thoughtful and precise, and remind me why I fell in love with sourdough; the process connects us to the land, to our ancestors and to ourselves. Tara’s book brings together all elements of the bread baking process. … I highly recommend it to anyone interested in diving into the world of bread baking.”

Nik Pugmire, executive pastry chef of Doré Bakery and the Port of Des Moines Event Group, recommends King Arthur Baking School: Lessons and Recipes for Every Baker” by King Arthur Baking Co.: “Consider this cookbook a ‘greatest hits’ of all your favorite recipes, backed up by a team of professional bakers, chefs and instructors who fill the pages with approachable instruction and helpful insight. Perfect for bakers of all skill levels, this new cookbook will quickly become a go-to classic.”

James Richards, executive chef at Proudfoot & Bird in the Hotel Fort Des Moines, is keen on The Wok” by J Kenji Lopez-Alt: “The recipes are home runs and have scientific facts that prove them to be. Most of the dishes require minimal equipment and make for super-simple and easy home cooking. One pan, one meal, easy cleanup means more time to spend with the people who you are cooking for. At the end of the day, isn’t that what it’s all about?”

George Formaro, chef-partner of the Orchestrate Hospitality restaurants, chooses Masa” by Jorge Gaviria: “This cookbook is the most comprehensive book on masa (ground corn) I’ve ever seen. It shows techniques and reflections on this staple, and contains recipes for all of my favorite street snacks from Mexico, like atole (a hot drink made with masa), empanadas and quesadillas. If you were not blessed with an abuela in your life, this book is a must.”

You can also support local with a couple of new and coming-soon options from culinary aces you’ve seen in the pages of dsm. “The Clean Vegan Cookbook: 60 Whole-Food, Plant-Based Recipes to Nourish Your Body and Soul” by Jackie Akerberg is available for pre-order now and will be on sale Jan. 17. Wini Moranville’s “Everyday French Cooking: Modern French Cuisine Made Simple” was published last May; score a peek via this easy French dinner in 30 minutes.

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