I’ve always had a difficult time sourcing for professional level pastry books in Asia. Apart from direct mail order from the publisher themselves or from online book order shops like Amazon.com (which carries expensive freight charges), I’ve never been able to find decent professional level pastry books in retail book shops in the region. Eurochef in Malaysia has a very limited selection but that’s about it. That’s why I was particularly excited when I read in the local newspaper recently that 25 Degree Celsius, a retail shop dedicated to cooking and pastry books opened last month in Singapore. I checked them out this weekend and found, to my disappointment, that their pastry books only focused on the home and enthusiast markets. The books they offered were very similar to what was offered at Kinokuniya. Kinokuniya is, in my opinion, the best bookstore locally to offer the most diverse range of home cooking and amateur pastry books on the market and they occasionally have a few professional level books on their shelves as well.
My favorite specialty bookstore is in New York City called Kitchen Arts & Letters. Kitchen Arts & Letters carries the most complete range of cooking and pastry books anywhere and I have not seen any bookshop even remotely coming close to their selection of niche books in my global travels around the world. The most recent book I purchased from them was PH10. PH10 is Pierre Hermé’s latest book chronicling the last 10 years of his pastry career in which he features many recipes from his reknowned pastry shop, Pierre Hermé. The photography in this book is simply stunning and his recipes are truly innovative, always pushing the boundaries of the pastry making world. PH10 is the highly acclaimed follow-up to his earlier book, The Patisserie of Pierre Hermé, which featured recipes during his days when he was Executive pastry chef at Fauchon. Other books that I highly recommend to professional pastry chefs (or aspiring pastry chefs) are the following:
– Au Coeur des Saveurs – by Frederic Bau (English/French)
– Dessert Cuisine – by Oriol Balaguer (English)
– Plasirs Sucrés – by Pierre Hermé (French)
– Grande Livre de Cuisine: Desserts and Pastries – by Alain Ducasse and Frédéric Robert (English)
– L’Art des Petit Fours: Sucrés et Salés – Joel Bellouet and Jean-Michel Perruchon (English/French)
These books are prized possessions in my pastry book collection and they are often referenced when I need inspiration in my sweet creations. They are expensive but they belong on any shelf of aspiring pastry chefs wanting to be innovators in their respective fields.
Since this is my last post before the 2007 year ends, I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy New Year!