With coronavirus making travel a tricky and even potentially dangerous prospect this year, we’re embracing the summer staycation. All week (and all summer) long, we’ll bring you transportive flavors and travel-inspired ideas from around the world, so you can take your tastebuds on a trip and give your mind a mini vacation while you’re still at home. Here, cookbooks from some of the chefs of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants so you can make their food at home.
The most recent official list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants (at least in the eyes of classy sparkling beverage purveyors San Pellegrino) is from 2019; coronavirus has put a damper on their usual operations too, and in 2020 they’re”helping the restaurant sector to fight for its future, as well as assisting in the work that chefs and restaurateurs are themselves doing to help others.”
Last year’s list is populated by places most of us likely wouldn’t have had the opportunity to patronize even in the best of times, with an average price of admission well into three figures—not to mention the high cost of travel (and that’s assuming you could ever hope to score a highly coveted reservation). But if you’re looking for a cheap and somewhat easy “hack” to get a taste of what these big ticket eateries have to offer, as well as to get a vicarious sense of travel while you’re staying put at home, you’ve come to the right place.
With these cookbooks, authored by chefs whose restaurants have made it onto the World’s 50 Best list, you can try your hand at replicating some of the greatest bites on the planet. Sure, it’s not exactly the perfect substitute for experiencing the culinary ecstasy of eating at these fine dining temples in-person, but it will give you insight into what makes these establishments so special while providing cooking skills and techniques from the top chefs in the game. Plus the books will look great on your coffee table.
After spending years camped out in the top 10, chef Muaro Colagreco’s seaside stunner Mirazur finally earned its way to #1 on the World’s Best list. “Mirazur” is equal parts postcard and cookbook, filled with gorgeous photos of the restaurant’s homebase, the French Riviera town of Menton, and blueprints to 65 signature offerings including “spider crab grapefruit wild herb” and “green beans cherries pistachio” (the simplistic titles belie the dishes’ spellbinding intricacy). Combining local flavors with influences from Italy (the border is only minutes from the restaurant) and Colagreco’s native Argentina, these recipes reflect farm (and water) to table cuisine at its finest.Buy Now
If your interest in pickles is limited to a jar of Vlasic, let René Redzepi, the man behind the world’s second best restaurant (and former top spot occupant) expand your horizons. The groundbreaking Danish chef gets funky with this educational guide that breaks down the science and techniques of fermentation from pickling fruits and vegetables to brewing your own kombucha and soy sauce. Thankfully, you don’t need a Ph.D. in chemistry to follow along, with Redzepi offering instructions and photos for each and every step of all his recipes.Buy Now
Lima has emerged as one of the world’s culinary hotspots thanks in large part to chef Virgilio Martinez and his flagship restaurant Central which once again reigned supreme on the World’s Best list among South American eateries. Part cookbook, part journal, and packed with exquisite photos, “Central” offers an all-encompassing look at what it takes to elevate a restaurant to legendary status. Word of warning: Several of Martinez’s recipes use ingredients only found in Peru so replicating them may be tough. Still, this is a book that is guaranteed to educate and inspire home cooks and professional chefs alike.Buy Now
Adoni Luis Aduriz helped usher in the highly influential modern Spanish food movement when he opened Mugaritz in San Sebastian over two decades ago. The restaurant continues to shine all these years later (it’s currently #7 on the World’s Best list) and “Mugaritz” shows why it remains a culinary powerhouse. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the unique mind of Aduriz, with recipes that showcase what happens when you transport fine dining to another universe. Though it will be tough to master the black belt cooking techniques to create these dishes and equally difficult to track down some of the bizarre ingredients that are listed (you probably won’t come across edible kaolin clay at your local Whole Foods), if you want to elevate your chef’s game to the next level it’s definitely a challenge worth taking.Buy Now
Vegetables are finally being given the opportunity to take center stage on a fine dining menu and chef Alain Passard with his hit Paris restaurant Arpège, which remains at #8 on the World’s Best list, is largely to thank for that. “The Art of Cooking with Vegetables” pulls back the curtain on Passard’s wizardry with beets, peas, asparagus, and other farm-fresh produce, providing tips and recipes to transform the foods you loathed as a kid into some of the best bites you’ll ever eat. (And OK, the current price is probably about as high as the actual restaurant entry fee, but you can check out less lofty salad-centric cookbooks while you wait for it to drop…)Buy Now
Enrique Olvera is the only chef to have two restaurants on the Pellegrino list (Mexico City’s famed Pujol at #12 and New York sensation Cosme at #23) so yeah, the guy’s got skills. With “Tu Casa Mi Casa” Olvera translates his expertise of Mexican cooking into easy-to-follow recipes that are accessible for any home chef. Featuring 100 recipes, the book runs the gamut from tamales to tinga, hearty breakfasts to simple weeknight meals, soups, salads, desserts (¡churros, que rico!), and everything in between.Buy Now
Alain Ducasse can be considered the other “Michelin Man,” racking up more stars than Netflix’s “The Prom.” The fine folks at San Pellegrino love him too, ranking his Parisian gastronomic palace Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée the #16 restaurant in the world. “Bistro” features Ducasse, known for his fancy flourishes and unmistakable French flare, as his most accessible. While the book features his surefire versions of homey classics like onion soup and chocolate mousse, you’ll also be treated to a chapter devoted to organ meat with recipes for crispy pig’s feet and tripe.Buy Now
Header image by Chowhound, using photos from Amazon