Read 'em and eat: Some of the country's most celebrated chefs are divulging their most precious recipes and all-around gustatory know-how in books that are as at home in the kitchen as they are displayed on your bookshelf. Below are our top picks with the best pieces of expert advice and the recipes we'll be impressing our guests with next. Plus, cooking classes offered by restaurants where it can be tough to book a table, let alone go backstage.
Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird
The photographs of James Beard winner Gabriel Rucker's dishes are so beautiful it's hard to believe he calls his cuisine "cracked-out mountain food."
Takeaway Tip: Turn often-discarded meats into treats like lamb-tongue fries, beef-cheek bourguignon, and pan-fried veal-neck glands.
Recipe Worth the Cover Price: A cream spinach blended with foie gras.
$40; Ten Speed Press
Daniel: My French Cuisine
This Francophile bible illustrates Daniel Boulud's signature multi-course meals as well as casual dishes.
Takeaway Tip: Perk up ceviche and sashimi with a 45-minute citrus-salt cure.
Recipe Worth the Cover Price: Chicken breasts simmered in the bird's stock with tomatoes, shallots, and tarragon and served alongside rice pilaf.
$50; Grand Central Life & Style
Find out how this underdog punk-rock pizza joint became a foodie destination.
Takeaway Tip: Who needs an oven shipped from Italy? Buy a pizza stone and turn yours all the way up.
Recipe Worth the Cover Price: The perfect crust: 2.5 cups of flour, 1 cup of water, 2 teaspoons of salt, ½ teaspoon of active dry yeast, and olive oil.
$35; Clarkson Potter
The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook
Michael Anthony's beloved farm-to-table recipes are featured along with profiles of the unsung people behind the celebrated New York restaurant.
Takeaway Tip: Use a simple stove-top smoker with a cup of applewood chips to give trout incredible flavor.
Recipe Worth the Cover Price: Meatballs served on a plate of red-wine-braised onions.
$50; Clarkson Potter
Thai-obsessed chef Andy Ricker and writer JJ Goode explain how to make Chiang Mai classics at home.
Takeaway Tip: Ricker thickens his curries with puréed fish fillets instead of cooking them down.
Recipe Worth the Cover Price: Ike's Vietnamese Fish-Sauce Wings, dredged in tempura batter, dropped in bubbling oil for six minutes, then rolled in a sticky soy-chile glaze.
$35; Ten Speed Press
L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food
Korean-BBQ-taco king Roy Choi discusses his crack use and gambling, and riffs on his street-food inspirations.
Takeaway Tip: To liven up leftovers like cooked rice and vegetables, toss them into a sizzling wok with pork-belly chunks and eggs.
Recipes Worth the Cover Price: Thin, crosscut short ribs dunked in an orange-juice, kiwi, and soy-sauce marinade and charred on the grill.
The Endorsement: Take a cooking class at your favorite restaurant
Ngam, New York City: Hong Thaimee teaches the fundamentals of Thai cooking at her East Village outpost. Flour + Water, San Francisco: Master the fine art of making pasta with chefs like Thomas McNaughton. Publican Quality Meats, Chicago: This regular series of classes features a rotating cast of acclaimed local cooks and bartenders.