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Jul 31, 2013 10:44 AM

Best Japanese cookbook for a professional cook

Hey Guys,

I've been cooking professionally for 5 years and have all my Western techniques down, but I need to grow my Asian food knowledge and was wondering if you guys may have suggestions for maybe the top three Japanese cookbooks???

I am looking for something serious and full of useful information, trying to steer clear of the "Japanese Made Easy" or "Japanese Meals in 20 Minutes"-type things..... The more traditional, the better.

Thanks in advance. :)

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  1. My recommendation is the masterpiece Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art by Shizuo Tsuji. Covers a wide range of food and cooking styles, but IMHO does an amazingly good job with all of it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: willeatanythingyummy

      This is by far the best book, but unfortunately there are not many pictures. If you can afford it the Tsuji video series is well worth the money if you are a professional chef. I think it's about $600, but it is very, very good. Anyone who makes all the dishes in the video series would know more about Japanese cooking than 99.9% of foreign chefs. I have about 100 Japanese cookbooks, and besides the Tsuji book there's not much geared towards the professional in English. "A Dictionary of Japanese Food" is a must-have, but it's just a dictionary. Andoh's washoku has a lot of good information, but the recipes are geared more towards the home cook. "Dashi and Umami" is a great book but the scope is very narrow. The Kikunoi and Kitcho books are nice on the coffee table, but the explanations of the cooking are incomplete. I don't think it's possible to recreate any of the dishes in those books properly without professional experience in all of the techniques involved. There are some Japanese books that are almost entirely done with pictures that are very good, and if you have someone to translate just a few basic words in the text they could be more valuable to you than an English book for restaurant cooking. Kondo San's Tempura book would be one such book.