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Which textbook should I buy?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hey there, I'm a "junior sous chef" (basically a line cook) and I'm about to start my apprenticeship to earn my red seal. I live in Canada. Right now I am looking to buy a text book to study, seeing as it has been recommended to me by pretty much every cook I know. The problem is that I'm poor haha. I can afford to buy the book, it's just going to take a hit on my moneys. Here are the books I'm currently debating -


This would be the best choice for obvious reasons, but it's quite pricy. Is there much difference between the 7th and 8th edition?


This is the 7th edition - (Which I can get for around $60) 



And finally, I've been looking at this... It's not Canadian, but I was thinking that it may just have everything the Canadian books have + possibly more? I have no idea.


All in all, I'm looking to buy the one that would help educate me the most. For those of you that have read this, I really appreciate it. Thanks a bunch!

post #2 of 5
I think my overall go to book is The Professional Chef. But that being said, I also use Professional Cooking and On Cooking, Its good to have multiple references. Whichever book you choose, I'd reccomend getting a used copy of an older edition on Amazon, they are far far cheaper then a new copy of the latest, and I've seen that the information doesn't change much. Spend your money to get a few used textbooks, it'll be more useful then spending the same amount on one shiny new one.
post #3 of 5

     I do not know about Canadian educational requirements so my first recommendation is to talk to the instructors at your school. They can best guide you about what is most important to them and may have access to older copies of the the books they prefer. Most instructors recognize the costs are extreme for students and will help you if they can. 

     That being said, there are any number of cookbooks that can help you. Jacques Pepins' Techniques is a great book. James Peterson has produced several great books "Sauces", " Glorious French Food" and a couple of others. Michael Ruhlman's "Ratio's" is an excellent resource. 

Of course, the Culinary Institute of America has produced many great textbooks. All of these books can be found at used bookstores. You may have to spend some time calling or visiting the stores but they can be had for a lot less than most of the textbooks. 

     The information won't be different, just the presentation of it. 

Whichever book you pursue, make sure the instructors are involved in the process. That will let them know of your efforts and help them understand how interested you are in actually being a scholar of the culinary arts. 

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thanks a bunch guys. I really appreciate the help. I'm going to go the used text route like you recommended. Turns out I can buy two for the price of one new. 

post #5 of 5

Here are a few books that I have always kept in my collection.. they are not in any particular order, except the first one


Professional Chef - I think its almost imperative to have this one

On Cooking

Becoming a Chef, Revised Edition

Escoffier: Le Guide Culinaire: The Original, Unabridged Translation Into English

Professional Cooking 

Recipe Writer's Handbook, Revised and Expanded

Larouse Gastronomique


Lessons in Service from Charlie Trotter - this one is a more personal due to being able to call him a friend... I met him while I was living and working in Chicago at a fund raiser and became really good friends... I miss him 


Everyone probably could add to or subtract from this list, but these are ones I have found to be handy... I personally have over 200 books, but I have been collecting over the years... now its almost a game now for family and friends to try and find a cookbook that I don't have and that I want... and not one of them is a rachel ray cookbook (thank god!!) LOL

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