So many great suggestions here. Flavor Bible, Ratio, On Food and Cooking, Joy of Cooking are my building block books. But, I'm a home cook, not a chef.
Along the lines of Paula Wolfert, who takes an anthropological approach to cuisines around the Mediterranean, there are Diana Kennedy's books on Mexican cuisines, Marcella Hazan's books on Italian cooking, Madhur Jaffrey's books on Indian food, & Claudia Rodin's New Book of Middle Eastern Food.I have a longer list of these authors who take that approach, but those are the authors I refer to most for ethnic cuisines.
For books on basic techniques, I like James Peterson's books and Anne Willan's La Varenne Practique.
For pure reading pleasure on the many ways food nourishes us and brings us joy, M.F.K. Fisher's The Art of Eating is a compilation of her food writing. I am devastated that she seems to have gone out of fashion.
The next one on my acquisition list is Judy Rodgers' Zuni Cafe Cookbook.