Traditional gender roles of hunter-gatherer and meal preparer have been turned on their head with the rise of the celebrity chef. Household names like Ramsay, Flay, Fieri, and Bourdain have made it fashionable for men to prove their prowess in the kitchen. There is also added value for a man who can hold his own in the home kitchen, particularly when picking up the check at a fancy eatery may prove a challenge.
No longer seen as the skill of dour servants of the wealthy but of spiky-haired party animals and grizzled world travelers, the male culinary world widens when mixing in the rustic food intellectuals staking their claim to an alternative way of life. Here are our favorite cookbooks highlighting the modern male’s flourish in the kitchen.
Bobby Flay’s Boy Gets Grill: 125 Reasons to Light Your Fire!
by Bobby Flay
Bobby Flay established his star early among the galaxy of celebrity chefs that have populated the Food Network. In Boy Meets Grill, Flay offers recipes inspired by the rooftop grills of his native New York and accents them with the flavors of its ethnic enclaves (Italian, Indian, Greek).
The Naked Chef
Jamie Oliver was among the early vanguard of the culinary British Invasion, along with Gordon Ramsay, Nigella Lawson, and more. Along the way, he was won over the masses with his made-for-TV charm and “naked” style of cooking with simple ingredients and bare recipes. This first book in the Naked Chef series was an international bestseller.
The Tucci Cookbook
No sampling of the all-encompassing American cookbook can be complete without an Italian influence. In The Tucci Cookbook, actor Stanley Tucci (of foodie screen gems like Big Night and Julie and Julia) offers his take on a good Italian supper by digging into his family treasure chest for robust, flavorful recipes for Venetian Seafood Salad, Lasagna Made with Polenta and Gorgonzola Cheese, Baked Whole Fish, and other delicacies.
New American Table
Marcus Samuelsson is the preeminent poster boy for cosmopolitan urban cuisine. With roots in Ethiopia, Sweden, and New York City, his meals are just what the doctor ordered to tap our inner sophisticate. New American Table puts the focus on his beloved Big Apple, with recipes that highlight our ethnic and regional diversity.
Taming the Feast
by Ben Ford
In Taming the Feast, acclaimed chef Ben Ford shares his adventures in outdoor cooking for large groups and his expertise in grilling, smoking, and roasting. His recipes and techniques are perfect for the DIY guy (or gal) who wants to use his manicured, picket-fenced backyard for a ranch-style pig roast, fish fry, or barbecue. Urban gourmets obsessed with sustainability will dig the whole-beast recipes, which emphasize that no part of your prey go to waste.
School of Fish
Who knew that the debate over land-based meat would’ve gotten this polarizing, with high-minded herbivores who avoid critters entirely in one corner and “whole beast” carnivores who demand the entire animal from the nose to the tail in the other? Ben Pollinger, executive chef of upscale Manhattan restaurant Oceana, helps navigate an alternative course in this no-nonsense book that demystifies the art of cooking seafood. With more than 100 recipes organized by technique from the easiest to the most advanced.