Michael Romano, culinary director for the Union Square Hospitality Group and co-owner of Union Square Cafe, is the author of Family Table: Favorite Staff Meals from Our Restaurants to Your Home. Here, the chef shares his influential cookbooks.

Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art, by Shizuo and Yoshiki Tsuji. I often return to this wonderful book for basic information on Japanese cooking. I love the section on Japanese knives and their functions, which taught me so much very early on in my exploration of this amazing cuisine.

Le Ricette Regionali Italiane by Anna Gosetti della Salda published by Solores--an Italian book I purchased in Italy many years ago and which served me so well during my years as Chef at Union Square Cafe. I treasure it!

Number three is a toss-up among the Joy of Cooking (yes--I treasure my 1972 edition! So nostalgic), Paul Bocuse's La Cuisine du Marche by Flammarion and my old and tattered 1973 edition of the Escoffier Cook Book:

The Joy of Cooking was among the books I purchased when I first decided I might want to pursue cooking as a career. The Escoffier was the first book I obtained when I began cooking school—it was my bible and seemed to be the key to a whole world of cuisine I was so eager to understand. The Bocuse book was given to me by the then chef at Michel Guerard’s Eugenie-les-Bains restaurant, and I’ve cooked from it many times when I was in my “French period.”