San Francisco

15 Essential East Bay Cookbooks

The East Bay is home to some of the country’s top restaurants, which serve to tempt locals with the prospect of delicious dishes every day of the week.

But if you'd prefer to enjoy some of the East Bay’s culinary flair in the comfort of your own home, check out these 15 must-have local cookbooks, inspired by regional ingredients and local chefs.

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Chez Panisse Café Cookbook
by Alice L. Waters, David Tanis and Fritz Streiff

Arguably one of the most iconic restaurants in Berkeley, Chez Panisse has inspired a number of cookbooks, including Chez Panisse Café Cookbook, which pays homage to Alice Waters’ famous upstairs eatery, with its ever-changing menu of seasonal fare.

Get it here >

Burma Superstar
by Desmond Tan and Kate Leahy

Want to recreate Burma Superstar's famous tea leaf salad? The beloved Bay Area restaurant, which has a location on Telegraph Avenue, released its cookbook this year, with a lineup of recipes that include "Chili Lamb, Pork and Pumpkin Stew, Platha (a buttery layered flatbread), Spicy Eggplant, and Mohinga, a fish noodle soup that is arguably Myanmar’s national dish."

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The Mac + Cheese Cookbook: 50 Simple Recipes from Homeroom
by Allison Arevalo and  Erin Wade                                        

Restaurant-quality mac 'n' cheese doesn’t have to be a luxury, especially if you can make it in your own kitchen. If you’re a fan of Temescal’s Homeroom, check out this playful cookbook, featuring the popular comfort food restaurant’s recipes, from Tuna Mac to Sriracha Mac to Vegan Mac.

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The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook
by Laura McLively

The East Bay’s food scene is anchored in fresh produce, and grocery store Berkeley Bowl features a cornucopia of extraordinary fruits and vegetables. The cookbook associated with the local family-run grocery, set for publication on April 18th, 2018, features recipes that embrace the versatility and uniqueness of the market’s plant-based bounty.

Pre-order it here >

This is Camino
by Russell Moore, Allison Hopelain and Chris Collin

This is Camino captures the “fire-based cooking approach and ingredient-focused philosophy” of Russ Moore and Allison Hopelain's Camino, which has become one of Oakland’s favorite restaurants since its debut on Grand Avenue in 2008. The book contains approximately 100 recipes, from entrees to side dishes, desserts to cocktails.  

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The Pancake Handbook: Specialties from Bette's Oceanview Diner
by Steve Siegelman, Bette Kroening and Sue Conley    

Even if you choose to bypass the booths over at Bette’s Oceanview Diner, you don’t have to miss out on one of Berkeley’s best breakfast spots. Pancake recipes range from classic buttermilk to double chocolate to blueberry yogurt, and The Pancake Handbook covers everything that goes into — and on top of — these signature East Bay flapjacks.                 

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The Cheese Board: Collective Works: Bread, Pastry, Cheese, Pizza
by Cheeseboard Collective Staff

Here’s a collection of 150 classic recipes from Berkeley's Cheese Board, a worker-owned collective since 1971, including instructions for how to make the bakery’s famous cherry corn scones, sourdough bread, pizzas and more.

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Brown Sugar Kitchen: New-Style, Down-Home Recipes from Sweet West Oakland
by Tanya Holland

Located in West Oakland, Brown Sugar Kitchen is a community-orientated eatery with a robust menu of soul food offerings. In her cookbook, executive chef Tanya Holland captures both the vibes of the neighborhood and her menu favorites, including the famous chicken and waffles, shrimp gumbo, and oyster po’boy—not to mention tantalizing desserts like her caramel layer cake with brown sugar frosting.

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The Juhu Beach Club Cookbook: Indian Spice, Oakland Soul
by Preeti Mistry and Sarah Henry   

Innovative Oakland restaurant Juhu Beach Club may be closing its doors soon, but the flavors put forward by James Beard Award-nominated chef Preeti Mistry are built to last. Her cookbook features a “collection of street food, comfort classics, and restaurant favorites” influenced by Mistry’s Indian and American upbringing, and is not to be missed for fan's of Juhu's bold energy.

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Cooking by Hand
by Paul Bertolli

From the chef behind Rockridge's Oliveto, Cooking by Hand is a collection of personal essays written by Paul Bertolli, and over 140 recipes of his favorite recipes, including short ribs agrodolce, tagliolini pasta with crab, semifreddo of peaches and mascarpone, and more delicious takes on Italian cooking.

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Flavors of Oakland
by Elazar Sontag and Anya Ku

For a culinary and cultural tour of Oakland, check out Flavors of Oakland, which features the lives, food and stories of 20 home cooks. Published in 2016, the project aimed to break down barriers between the Oakland’s many communities and to unite people around shared meals.

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The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook
by Rachel Saunders

Blue Chair Fruit Company is an artisanal jam and marmalade company based in Oakland, and this cookbook of 150 sweet and savory recipes for jams and jellies is a “comprehensive manifesto” for baking and cooking with preserves.

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Twelve Recipes
by Cal Peternell

Considered one of the best “introduction to the kitchen” cookbooks and all-around kitchen manuals, Twelve Recipes is a collection of basic techniques, expert instructions, and essential recipes compiled by Cal Peternell, a chef at Chez Panisse.

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Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking
by Samin Nosrat and Wendy MacNaughton

Chef Samin Nosrat, of Berkeley, has been called “the next Julia Child,” and her first cookbook shows why this former Chez Panisse chef is America’s "next great cooking teacher,” according to Alice Waters. A collection of over 100 recipes and 150 colorful illustrations, this eye-catching book is a must read for novice cooks and expert home chefs alike.

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Yummy Supper  
by Erin Scott

Also from Berkeley is this compendium of gluten-free recipes that showcase natural ingredients and healthy eating. Divided into chapters like “nut,” “sea” and “egg,” award-winning blogger Erin Scott covers how to make family-friendly dishes that are equal parts flexible, creative, delicious and nutritious.

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Did we leave out your favorite East Bay cookbook? Let us know what's missing from the list in the comments, below.


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