These forthcoming culinary memoirs, all by industry professionals, offer glimpses into the kitchen and behind the bar.
Recipes punctuate a series of intimate vignettes, lovingly told, about the quirks and genius of the author’s mother, food activist and Chez Panisse restaurateur Alice Waters, who contributes the foreword. “Singer’s language is read-out-loud luscious,” PW’s starred review said, “and her culinary coming-of-age story savory and sweet.”
Eat a Peach
Before Chang achieved rock star status as the chef behind the Momofuku (“lucky peach”) empire, he left the U.S. to teach English in a small village in Japan, looking for the meaning his undergraduate degree in religious studies didn’t give him. It was there, in the throes of his first manic episode, that he realized his love of food and cooking could give purpose to his life. In his memoir, he writes of his struggle with mental illness, the luck and hard work that made him known as a culinary wunderkind, and his passion for, and uneasiness with, his chosen profession.
Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger
Donovan, a Nashville pastry chef and James Beard Award–winning essayist, details her struggles to ascend in Southern kitchens where white men rose to fame and fortune on the backs of the women and people of color who preceded them, and about the family matriarchs who encouraged and inspired her and helped her forge a hard-driving life as a mother and an acclaimed chef. “Maybe,” she writes, “if my relentlessness could do one thing, maybe it could break the boulder that my mothers carried for so long into small enough pieces that it would no longer feel like any of us were being buried alive.”
In 2018, Crenn became the first female chef in the U.S. to receive three Michelin stars, for her San Francisco restaurant Atelier Crenn. Her memoir tracks the years leading up to that milestone, from her childhood in Versailles, where her parents nurtured her curiosity and love of food; to the late 1980s, when she left the male-dominated culinary world of Paris for better opportunities in San Francisco; to her professional successes—the restaurant, her appearances on Iron Chef and Chef’s Table—and her search for identity and belonging as an adoptee and an expat.
Alperin, who among other projects cofounded influential L.A. bar the Varnish, and Stoll, a journalist and veteran bartender, slake readers’ thirsts for a water-spots-and-all look at cocktail culture, with lessons learned from the late Sasha Petraske, a pioneering bartender and Alperin’s mentor; musings on craft and what it means to be somebody’s local; and cautionary advice against dating a bartender. Bolstering the narrative: 100 cocktail recipes that all Varnish bartenders know before they serve their first drink.