This year, perhaps by default, was something of a vintage one for home cooking. As many people were forced to spend much more time in their kitchens, they took to cooking like never before – from breads and cakes to comfort foods and elaborate dishes.
Cookery books were right there with us. Many people revisited old classics, but there were some stellar new releases, too. Here at Telegraph Food, we loved Nigella Lawson’s latest tome, Cook Eat Repeat (who didn’t?). Falastin by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley wowed us, as did Regula Ysewijn’s Oats in the North, Wheat from the South, a wonderful look at the history of British baking.
Thankfully, the 2021 line-up looks set to be just as tasty, with some particularly exciting new releases, including a celebration of refugee and immigrant cooking, a volume centring on grandmothers’ recipes, and a new book by the queen of Middle Eastern cookery, Claudia Roden.
Here are 15 books we’ve got our eyes on next year.
1. Great British Vegan: Simple, plant-based recipes to cook the nation’s favourite dishes
By Aimee Ryan (due out 5 Jan, White Lion Publishing)
It may divide opinion but plant-based diets have risen exponentially over the past few years. Here, food blogger Aimee Ryan takes us through British standards – shepherd’s pie, (fake) fish and chips, sticky toffee pudding – offering tips on vegan alternatives. Should whet appetites for nostalgia and comfort food.
2. Today’s Special: 20 Leading Chefs Choose 100 Emerging Chefs
(due out 11 Feb, Phaidon)
A unique book, Today’s Special sees 20 leading chefs from around the world – including British-based Skye Gyngell, Margot Henderson and Yotam Ottolenghi – pick up-and-coming names to look out for in the food world. Each chosen chef – including British chefs Jeremy Chan (Ikoyi), Tomos Parry (Brat) and Clare de Boer and Jess Shadbolt (of King in New York) – shares a menu and recipe alongside an original essay. One for food nerds, perhaps, but highly intriguing nonetheless.
3. The Kitchen Without Borders: Recipes and Stories from Refugee and Immigrant Chefs
by The Eat Offbeat Chefs (due out 2 Mar, Workman Publishing)
Eat Offbeat is a catering company founded in New York by a brother and sister from the Middle East and is staffed by refugee and immigrant chefs. This book compiles 70 recipes from 14 regions, including Syria, Iran, Eritrea and Venezuela. More than simply a recipe book, it allows the chefs to tell their inspiring stories, too.
4. Grand Dishes: Time-perfected recipes and stories from grandmothers of the world
by Iska Lupton and Anastasia Miari (due out 4 Mar, Unbound)
Everyone’s grandmother makes the best grub. This is certainly true for both Iska Lupton and Anastasia Miaria, whose German and Greek grandmothers respectively instilled a love of food in the authors. They’ve scoured the food world for the best granny cooking, with cooks like Olia Hercules, Meera Sodha and Francis Mallmann contributing a dish passed down by their own grandmothers.
5. Mister Jiu’s in Chinatown: Recipes and Stories from the Birthplace of Chinese American Food
by Brandon Jew and Tienlon Ho (due out 9 Mar, Ten Speed Press)
Set in the heart of the US’s oldest Chinatown in San Francisco, Brandon Jew opened Mister Jiu’s in 2016, which quickly went onto earning a Michelin star. Here, Jew and food writer Tienlon Ho tell the story of Chinese-American food, the struggles of a rapidly gentrifying Chinatown, alongside 90 enticing recipes.
6. The Twisted Soul Cookbook: Modern Soul Food with Global Flavors
by Deborah VanTrece (due out 16 Mar, Rizzoli International Publications)
With Kansas City roots and a celebrated career in Atlanta, Deborah VanTrece is one of the most respected culinary figures in the United States. Here, VanTrece lifts the lid on the methods, techniques and seasonality behind soul food.
7. Root: Small vegetable plates, a little meat on the side
By Rob Howell (due out 18 Mar, Bloomsbury)
A debut cookbook from the respected Bristol-based chef Rob Howell. His ethos at his eponymous restaurant is very much focused on sustainability, with vegetables given centre stage. Yet meat-lovers needn’t despair as there will be plenty of mouthwatering options on that front, too.
8. The Italian Deli Cookbook
by Theo Randall (due out 23 Mar, Quadrille)
I absolutely love an Italian deli, those treasure troves of beautiful tins, jars and packets of the most delicious food that have done so much to improve the culinary canon of Britain’s relationship with food. Here Theo Randall, who worked at the River Cafe, promises to guide us through those little shops with expert recipes for anything you can find inside, from cured meats and sharp cheeses to, of course, pasta.
9. My Shanghai: Recipes and Stories from a City on the Water
by Betty Liu (due out 1 Apr, Harper Design)
Part cookery book, part travelogue, part cultural study, Betty Liu, a Chinese-American cook, travels to Shanghai to revisit the food of her ancestry. The book is formatted around seasonality, helping dispel the mistaken narrative that eating by the calendar is defined by the Western seasons.
10. Ripe Figs: Recipes and stories from the Eastern Mediterranean
by Yasmin Khan (due out 1 Apr, Bloomsbury)
Yasmin Khan, one of the best food writers around, travels extensively through the eastern Mediterranean (Greece, Turkey, Cyprus) in search of dishes spanning the Ottoman empire to the influence of refugee cooking today. There will be plenty of Ottolenghi-esque meals to pick from, and it promises to be a treat both to cook from and to read.
11. Afro Vegan: Family Recipes from a British-Nigerian Kitchen
by Zoe Alakija (due out 22 Apr, Hoxton Mini Press)
London-based Zoe Alakija blends the flavours of her upbringing with her vegan ethos in this volume. Expect plant-based plantain brownies and ‘cheesy’ kokoro. Certain to expand the horizons of many vegan home cooks in the UK.
by Elizabeth Haigh (due out 13 May, Bloomsbury)
Having previously won a Michelin star at her east London restaurant Pidgin, in 2019 Elizabeth Haigh opened Mei Mei in Borough Market, with food influenced by her Singaporean background. In Makan she shines a light on the country’s cuisine, with its delicious mix of influences from across Asia.
13. Sea & Shore: Recipes and stories from a cook and her kitchen in Cornwall
by Emily Scott (due out 27 May, Hardie Grant)
Emily Scott is a chef and restaurateur based in Cornwall, who runs the St Tudy Inn in Churchtown. In Sea & Shore, she writes about living in one of Britain’s most beautiful places and her seasonal approach to cooking. Expect plenty of excellent seafood dishes.
14. Sunshine Kitchen: Delicious Creole recipes from the heart of the Caribbean
by Vanessa Bolosier (due out 12 Jun, Pavilion)
While many Britons are familiar with certain aspects of Caribbean cooking, perhaps the Creole food of French-speaking islands like Guadeloupe or Martinique is less well understood. That shouldn’t be the case once Sunshine Kitchen is released, with its frankly brilliant sounding dishes, such as lobster fricassé, plantain gratin and mont blanc coconut cake.
by Claudia Roden (due out 2 Sep, Ebury Press)
The renowned cookbook writer, now in her mid-80s, has several books behind her, mostly focusing on Jewish, Middle Eastern or Mediterranean cooking. Now, over 30 years since her first specifically Mediterranean book, comes her latest, said to be focused on simple, everyday cooking – the sort of things Roden cooks for her friends and family. A sure-fire hit.