October 20 is International Chef's Day

October 16, 2020 | M. Elwood

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International Chef's Day was created in 2004 by The World Association of Chef's Societies. This day is to celebrate the profession and to reaffirm their responsibility to pass knowledge to younger chefs. The organization, known as Worldchefs, is also dedicated to humanitarian causes and supports efforts to reduce food insecurity and promote sustainability.

Sadly, 2020 has been a terrible year for the food industry. People are dining out less and cooking at home more.

If you're one of those people and you're looking for new ideas in your kitchen, try out one of these cookbooks and cooking memoirs! The chefs on this booklist have faced adversity on the way to success. Let their stories and recipes inspire your own culinary adventures. 


Shane Chartrand

Cover image of Tawâw : progressive Indigenous cuisine

tawâw: Progressive Indigenous Cuisine by Shane M. Chartrand with Jennifer Cockrall-King

In this book Chartrand shares recipes and his personal story. Chartrand was born to Plains Cree parents and taken into foster care during the Sixties Scoop. At 7, he was adopted by a Métis father and Mi'kmaw/Irish mother and spent his childhood on an Alberta farm. When he was in his thirties, Chartrand learned about his history and connected with his home nation. He combines Indigenous, Asian and European ingredients and techniques in his cooking. 


Dominique Crenn

Cover image of Rebel chef : in search of what matters

Rebel Chef: In Search of What Matters by Dominique Crenn with Emma Brockes

Adopted as a toddler by a politician and cook, Dominique Crenn was exposed to fine dining at an early age. When she decided to become a chef in her native France, she found it frustrating to find a place in the male-dominated restaurants. Instead, she moved to San Francisco and began her training with chef Jeremiah Tower. She worked in various kitchens before working at the Intercontinental Hotel in Jakarta. While there, she became the first female head chef in Indonesia. She is the only woman chef in America with three Michelin stars for her restaurant Atelier Crenn.

Cover image of Atelier Crenn : metamorphosis of taste

Atelier Crenn: Metamorphosis of Taste by Dominique Crenn with Karen Leibowitz


Christine Ha

Cover image of Recipes from my home kitchen : Vietnamese and American comfort food from the winner of MasterChef season 3

Recipes from My Home Kitchen: Vietnamese and American Comfort Food from the Winner of MasterChef Season 3 by Christine Ha

Christine Ha is the first blind contestant and winner of MasterChef, the American competition show for home cooks. She was born in California to Vietnamese parents and spent her childhood in Texas. In 2004, she was diagnosed with neuromyelitis optica where a person's immune system attacks the optic nerves. By 2007 she was almost completely blind. Since winning MasterChef she has opened restaurants and hosted Four Senses, a cooking show for the visually impaired.


Kwami Onwuachi

Cover image of Notes from a young Black chef : a memoir

Notes from a Young Black Chef by Kwami Onwuachi and Joshua David Stein

This is a memoir with recipes. It documents Onwuachi's troubled childhood, his desire to be a professional chef and the difficulty he faced as a person of colour breaking into the very white world of fine dining. 


Marcus Samuelsson

Cover image of Yes, chef

Yes, Chef: A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson

Marcus Samuelsson was born Kassahun Tsegie in Ethiopia in 1971. During the country's Civil War, he and his sister were separated from their family and adopted by a Swedish couple – Ann Marie and Lennart Samuelsson. They grew up in Götborg where his new grandmother inspired his love of food. He apprenticed at restaurants in Austria and France before making his way to the United States. In the U.S.,  he became the youngest chef to receive a 3-star review in the New York Times. 


Vikram Vij

Cover image of Vij : a chef's one-way ticket to Canada with Indian spices in his suitcase

Vij: a Chef’s One Way Ticket to Canada with Indian Spices in his Suitcase by Vikram Vij

Vij was born in India, moving to Austria at 19 to study hotel management. While in Salzburg, he became a chef and sommelier. He moved to Canada in 1989 and worked at Banff Springs Hotel before working at Bishop's Restaurant in Vancouver. He has collaborated with his now ex-wife Meeru Dhalwala on several projects including acclaimed restaurants, a food truck, and cookbooks. Vij combines locally sourced ingredients with traditional Indian spices and techniques.

Cover image of Vij's at home : relax, honey

Vij's at Home: Relax Honey by Meeru Dhalwala and Vikram Vij



What cookbooks do you recommend? Which one will you try next? Tell us below in the comments!