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A cookbook is so much more than a decorative coffee table addition (although it may make a great one of those).

A great cookbook is a lifelong cooking companion. Stains are rewards from frequent use and it never ceases to be a wealth of knowledge.

Finding a book that becomes your culinary Bible is easier said than done. But if anyone has put cookbooks through the ringer to figure out which ones are top tier, it’s the celebrity chefs and food critics who have used them tirelessly to perfect the craft.

To receive authentic insight into what top food professionals use in their daily lives, 1,000 Cookbooks, a website and app, features recommendations from over 400 professional chefs, bloggers, authors and food personalities.

You can view the top-ranked cookbooks of all time, as well as the top picks for specific categories, and read the impact that these materials have had on the pros. Participating judges include Michelin-starred Fergus Henderson and Amanda Hesser, CEO of Food52.

They were ranked into the top 1,000 cookbooks (hence the name), but if you want the best hits of all time, we’re showcasing the top 15, plus its recommendation from our favorite foodies.

So scroll down and be prepared to meet your new best friend in the kitchen.

Note: The prices below reflect the listed retailer’s price on the date this article was published.

1. “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child ($22.89; barnesandnoble.com)

PHOTO: Barnes and Noble

“It was the first recipe book I bought in 1991 when I started cooking, and it both fascinated and alarmed me about what preparation of good traditional French food involves. Still charming and inspiring cooks today.” — Dan Lepard, award-winning baker.

2. “The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating” by Fergus Henderson ($14.25; amazon.com)

PHOTO: Amazon

“If you’re going to kill the animal it seems only polite to use the whole thing. Henderson is a modest master, and although the prose is as minimalist as the white walls of his Smithfield restaurant, they are filled with warmth and wit. Jason Lowe’s photography is not only brilliant but quietly revolutionary too, showing hands, and half empty bowls. Then there are the recipes, for everything from bone marrow on toast to shrimps and cabbage to those magnificent madeleines. The book that put British cookery back on the world’s table.” — Tom Parker Bowles, restaurant critic and food writer

3. “Larousse Gastronomique” by Prosper Montagné ($24.23; amazon.com)

PHOTO: Barnes and Noble


When I was in my late teens and before I got into Leiths, I discovered Larousse. My mum was an amazing cook, but although she owned the book she never actually read any of it! I devoured it from cover to cover at bedtime and have read it over several times since. I knew I wanted to be a chef because of this book.” — Gizzi Erskine, chef and TV personality

4. “The French Laundry Cookbook” by Thomas Keller ($33.25; barnesandnoble.com)

PHOTO: Barnes and Noble

“An iconic book that in many ways is the quintessential fine dining restaurant book. Nothing that came before comes close to matching the way it truly encapsulates the spirit and ethos of a great restaurant at the height of its powers.” — Lisa Q. Fetterman, co-founder and CEO of Nomiku

5. “French Provincial Cooking” by Elizabeth David ($14.79; barnesandnobles.com)

PHOTO: Barnes and Noble

“My mother, a young medical student, living alone in a bedsit in 60s London, taught herself to cook with Elizabeth David’s books. My childhood was filled with the fruits of her efforts. My own kitchen could not be without those same loved dishes. I think my own love of pastry began with the quiche lorraine.” — Cat Black, member of the Guild of Food Writers and Grand Jury Member of the International Chocolate Awards

6. “White Heat” by Marco Pierre White ($24.99; barnesandnoble.com)