11 Brand-New Canadian Cookbooks to Dig Into Over the Holidays

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A bunch of cookbooks pictured together.

Earmark these fresh titles from St. Lawrence restaurant chef J-C Poirier, the Mandy’s salad sisters, and the Farmers and Fishers of Prince Edward Island

A collection of cookbooks.

Cool climes and snowy days mean more time indoors for many, but with Canada’s latest crop of page-turning cookbooks, one can easily keep busy. For those in the market for a last-minute Christmas present for the food-obsessed in their life or looking for some ideas for a bountiful holiday meal, these 11 cookbooks released since September 2022 have you covered. Below you will find titles whose subjects range from kid-appropriate dining to Quebec culinary traditions and Prince Edward Island’s delicious food seasons. The themes vary widely, but each cookbook promises to inspire creativity in the kitchen this winter.

Forego the mega online retailers and pick up your cookbook from a local shop. Westmount’s Appetite for Books, Mile End’s Drawn & Quarterly, Saint-Henri’s aptly named Librairie Saint-Henri Books, and Jean-Talon Market’s Librairie Gourmande are all great bets.

illustrated blue and red book cover that says “Canada’s Best New Cookbook”.

Canada’s Best New Cookbook

Amy Rosen

IndigoPress, Available in English and French

Air Canada’s enRoute has done an excellent job chronicling the hottest new players on the Canadian dining scene for two decades with a yearly Top 10 list, and now, it’s enlisted the help of James Beard Award-nominated author Amy Rosen to bring readers behind the scenes of some of the country’s most celebrated kitchens. (Rosen was the first food writer to travel coast-to-coast in search of Canada’s Best New Restaurant for the publication back in 2002.) The cookbook features stories and recipes from more than 30 restaurants, including roasted squash with burrata and burnt honey from Wayfarer Oyster House in Whitehorse, blueberry oatcake with parsnips from now-closed Raymonds in St. John’s, and Singapore chilli crab from Toronto’s DaiLo. One dollar from every sale is being donated to the Canadian Hospitality Foundation.

book cover with two people sitting on a rock looking at the sea and a second photo beneath of two bowls of lobster chowder.

Canada’s Food Island

The Farmers and Fishers of Prince Edward Island

Figure 1 Publishing, Available in English

This guidebook to all things PEI food-related shines a light on the daily lives of small-scale farms, family-run fisheries, and talented artisans that make the island province such a stellar place to eat. Nearly 100 recipes, accompanying background information, and stunning photography are organized by season. Expect beefy mushroom stew for the spring, creamy clam chowder for the summer, grilled quahaugs for the fall, and potato chocolate cake for the winter. Royalties from the book sale go to PEI food banks, helping to improve local food security.

book cover with chalky black background, with a radish and corkscrew and title “Climats”.

Climats: Cuisine + Vin au Gré des Saisons

Jean-Sébastien Giguère et Hugo Duchesne

Éditions La Presse, Available in French

Restaurants h3, Le Coureur des Bois, and La Cabane du Coureur’s executive chef and former head sommelier, Jean-Sébastien Giguère and Hugo Duchesne, respectively, have joined forces to pen this guide to seasonal cooking and wine pairings. Giguère promises to share classics from his restaurant ventures and family recipes drawing on his Italian roots. Meanwhile, Duchesne guides home cooks along the decision-making process for selecting the perfect wine to pair with each dish. Try matching trout tataki with sumac and crosne with a Seyval blanc from Quebec, or serve veal meatballs in tomato sauce with one of three suggested Sangiovese-based wines.

book cover with roasted cherry tomatoes and herbs and title “Don’t Worry, Just Cook“

Don’t Worry, Just Cook

Bonnie Stern and Anna Rupert

Appetite by Random House, Available in English

Celebrated cooking teacher, food columnist, and author Bonnie Stern has 12 best-selling cookbooks under her belt, and her latest, written in collaboration with her daughter Anna Rupert, is looking like another ace. In the introduction, Stern says she’s always felt like a social worker in the kitchen, supporting people in their everyday lives. With Don’t Worry, Just Cook, she guides readers with detail and care through 125 recipes ranging from Yemenite chicken soup and Nova Scotia hodgepodge to family-friendly brisket and rosemary-garlic pull-apart challah knots. Peppered between are essays containing universal truths about everything from leftovers (being awesome) and best-before dates (being fine to undermine).

book cove with pile of Asian vegetables, including greens an eggplant, in the middle.

Légumes Asiatiques: Jardiner, Cuisiner, Raconter

Caroline, Stéphanie, and Patricia Ho-Yi Wang

Parfum D’encre, Available in French

Légumes Asiatiques, like most satisfying cookbooks, operates on several levels. Part practical organic gardening manual, part charming recipe collection, and part touching family memoir, its anchor is the breadth of Asian vegetables that sisters Caroline, Stéphanie, and Patricia Ho-Yi Wang hope to acquaint readers with. Stéphanie is the founder and owner of Le Rizen, a small acre-and-a-half farm in Frelighsburg, in the Eastern Townships, where she grows the 15 vegetables featured in this book, including choy-sum, chrysanthemum, and Asian eggplant. These are transformed into about 40 recipes, developed by families, friends, and chefs, and sprinkled among family photos, bringing a personal touch to the sisters’ culinary journey.

yellow book cover with plate in center that says “Little Critics,” surrounded by kids toys.

Little Critics

Joanna Fox

Appetite by Random House, Available in English and French

Criticism is part of the job for any chef, but for some, it continues even when they get home. With this exciting new title, Montreal food writer and magazine editor Joanna Fox amasses 109 kid-friendly recipes from food experts across the country who’ve had to win over picky eaters for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and all those hunger-striking moments in between. This cookbook stuns with a vibrant yellow cover, some gorgeous, colour-popping photos (with dinosaur toys and teensy hands interspersed throughout), and dishes like frybread stuffed pizza from Indigenous chef Billy Alexande, pirate-themed breakfast from television food personality Raquel Fox, and lentil risotto from Montreal chef Michele Forgione. With a son at home, Fox takes the opportunity to divulge some of her own secrets, too: baked fish and sweet potato chips, chicken brochettes, and Santa (extra chocolatey) cookies.

green cookbook cove with photo of colourful, summery feast.

More Mandy’s

Mandy Wolfe, Rebecca Wolfe, and Meredith Erickson

Appetite by Random House, Available in English and French

This second cookbook from the salad-making sisters behind Montreal mega-hit Mandy’s — joined by accomplished cookbook writer Meredith Erickson — is a characteristically colourful, comforting compendium of internationally inflected recipes for leafy greens as well as soups and breakfast dishes. Though packed with recipes perfect for the colder months, such as maple cinnamon granola and roasted squash salad, the cookbook also includes options like a summer barbecue salad and green harvest smoothie, making it a great home kitchen resource year-round.

book cover with want looks like a paneer curry, and title “New Indian Basics”.

New Indian Basics

Preena Chauhan and Arvinda Chauhan

Appetite by Random House, Available in English

The handiwork of the same mother-daughter duo behind Indian spice blends company Arvinda’s (started in 2005), this is a comprehensive, heartwarming guide to the basics of Indian cooking. It features recipes for both traditional dishes like chaat papri (a street food snack with potatoes and chickpeas) and shrikhand (a creamy, yogurt dessert), as well as modern spins on classic flavours, like chai-spiced apple buckwheat pancakes and maple tandoori salmon with mint. Drawing on kitchen savvy refined through 30 yeas of teaching, the authors present their nourishing recipes alongside helpful information, including a spice glossary, a guide to cooking basmati rice, and tips for assembling a celebratory Indian feast. A worthy staple in any home cook’s toolkit.

book cover with man wearing red cap digging into a bowl of noodles with chopsticks.

Toujours Faim!

Laurent Dagenais

Les Éditions de l’Homme, Available in French

Montreal native, former restaurant chef, and current social media sensation Laurent Dagenais transports his signature easygoing cooking style from the iPhone screen to bookstore shelves with his very first cookbook, out since November 10. It packs 70 recipes, organized into 10 sections, including several that helped him amass his following of 1.4 million TikTok users and 157,000 Instagram followers throughout the pandemic, such as his raved-over mustard rabbit and Meditteranean grilled octopus. On top of these fan favourites, the collection features instructions for a refreshing cucumber gazpacho, beef tartare with whelks, a decadent flan pie, and a Monte Cristo sandwich inspired by a dish Dagenais tasted at famed Montreal restaurant Au Pied du Cochon.

Lesley Chesterman wearing a pink shirt, sitting at a dinner table

Un Week-End Chez Lesley

Lesley Chesterman

Les Éditions Cardinal, Available in French

Former Montreal Gazette restaurant critic, pastry chef, and Substacker Lesley Chesterman is a master at demystifying the secrets of the home kitchen. Her first book, Chez Lesley (now available in English), which discloses her comfort foods, is all about it. In her second, Un Week-End Chez Lesley, she shares ideas for foolproof gatherings with family and friends — be they over brunch, apéro, or dessert. Some of her recommended dishes include a savoury cake with ham and olives, macaroni and cheese approved by her son Max, and a sure-to-impress pan-fried duck with cherries. She also provides tips for hosting successful dinner parties, such as focusing on three approachable courses and remembering that charcuterie platters are your friend.

beige cookbook cover with a photo of what looks like Coquille Saint-Jacques.

Where the River Narrows

J-C Poirier with Joie Alvaro Kent

Appetite by Random House, Available in English

The menu at chef J-C Poirier’s acclaimed Vancouver restaurant, St. Lawrence, pays homage to the culinary traditions (and acumen) of his native province of Quebec. This cookbook — his first — brings it one step further, delving into recipes for time-honoured dishes like tourtière (meat pie), fèves au lard (baked beans), and pouding chômeur (a traditional dessert), alongside some home cooking favourites. Given Quebec’s cultural ties to France, it is no surprise the collection is rounded out with a section on old-school French cooking, including braised leeks with a brown butter and egg vinaigrette, coq au vin, and crème caramel. There are 125 recipes in all, and they’re woven with stories about his life as a restaurateur, memories of his mother’s cooking, and musings on what makes a great restaurant.

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