The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America’s Most Imaginative Chefs

The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs

The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America's Most Imaginative Chefs Rating:
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Winner of the 2009 James Beard Book Award for Best Book: Reference and Scholarship

Great cooking goes beyond following a recipe--it's knowing how to season ingredients to coax the greatest possible flavor from them. Drawing on dozens of leading chefs' combined experience in top restaurants across the country, Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg present the definitive guide to creating "deliciousness" in any dish. Thousands of ingredient entries, organized alphabetically and cross-referenced, provide a treasure trove of spectacular flavor combinations. Readers will learn to work more intuitively and effectively with ingredients; experiment with temperature and texture; excite the nose and palate with herbs, spices, and other seasonings; and balance the sensual, emotional, and spiritual elements of an extraordinary meal.Seasoned with tips, anecdotes, and signature dishes from America's most imaginative chefs, THE FLAVOR BIBLE is an essential reference for every kitchen.


  • ISBN13: 9780316118408
  • Condition: New
  • Notes: BUY WITH CONFIDENCE, Over one million books sold! 98% Positive feedback. Compare our books, prices and service to the competition. 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed


  1. Loraine Despres says


    The Flavor Bible: The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, Based on the Wisdom of America’s Most Imaginative Chefs This is a book for real cooks who want to explore new tastes. It’s for people who love to play around in the kitchen, who go to their local farmer’s market and find fresh romaine lettuce or chanterelle mushrooms and want to create something different. It’s for individualists who don’t want to be bound by someone else’s recipe, but want to make an original dish of their own, guided by the world’s great chefs.

  2. Laura Day says


    The Flavor Bible, from the award winning authors of : What to drink with what you eat, reads like a novel (with beautiful photo’s) and gives every cook the ability to become a chef! I often create in my kitchen, a pinch of this and a bit of that. Some of my dishes are great and some disasters. I begged a review copy of this book and I have had no more kitchen mistakes. This is, indeed, The Flavor Bible.

    I just bought 40 copies for my son’s teachers, my friends and family and all the young people I know who are setting up their first home. Entertaining is much more fun when you have the confidence to create. I have a thumbs up from my teen on the change in my nightly dinners. Thank you Flavor Bible! Thank you Karen Page and Andrew Dorenburg

  3. Chicago Book Addict says


    I absolutely love this book! I first discovered it when it was cited as a reference for a cookbook and am glad I did. While I am not a trained chef, I am an avid home cook that enjoys writing my own recipes, experimenting with foods, and as of late, entering recipe contests. This book helps me be more daring in my flavor combinations and has inspired new recipes.

    The first section of the book is a great introduction to flavor. It talks about what is perceived by the mouth, what is perceived by the nose, and my personal favorite, what is perceived by the heart, mind, and spirit. It has great passages from chefs from all over the country talking about things like balancing flavor.

    The second section expands on this further by talking about things like seasonality, taste, weight, volume, function, region, and flavor affinities. This helps set up the flavor matching chart since many of these dimensions are used to describe key aspects of each ingredient.

    The final section, and bulk of the book, is comprised of matchmaking charts. Simply look up a listing alphabetically and you will be presented with a list of ingredients that pair well with it as well as ‘flavor affinities’ that include the featured ingredient with more than two additional ingredients. This book gives you the ability to look up cheeses, chile peppers, cuisines, fishes, flavorings, fruits, herbs, ingredients, meats, oils, peppers, salts, spices, tastes, vegetables, vinegars and more! Overall these charts are very extensive and include a variety of ingredients from around the world. If you are interested in an ingredient there is a good chance you will find it in here. Also in this section you will find different tips and comments from Chefs that relate to the ingredients as well as examples of dishes (without recipes) that incorporate the ingredient. These can be great in bringing the combinations to life and jump starting ideas.

    It is also worth noting that this is really a reference book. There are no recipes in this book. However, this does not bother me at all as I have tons of cookbooks and come to this book when I want to create something on my own.

    This is quite a fantastic reference book that I cannot say enough about! I believe it is something that an avid cook who likes to experiment and create their own recipes would find not only helpful, but enjoyable to have in the kitchen.

  4. Rating

    I recently added this book to my cookbook collection, which numbers more than 1,000 volumes (probably more like 1200 but I’m still cataloging). It has immediately become one of my favorites (and definitely my #1 favorite in English). If you are a serious cook, love to read cookbooks like novels, and view recipes as suggestions rather than as requiring strict adherence to precise measurements, then this is the book for you! (Did I say I LOVE this book?)

    I make all of the desserts for my husband’s restaurant. If I snag some particularly luscious fruit and want to make it into a dessert, this is the book I reach for first. I don’t WANT to be told how to make a fruit sorbet. I already know how. But I love having a list of suggested flavors and products that go with what I already have. It’s like having an uber-creative friend at your side saying “hey, why not try THIS?”

    And if you are not an experienced cook, this book provides invaluable guidance that a recipe book never could. It is wholly different from every food book I have ever read.

    The book is clever, useful, and obviously the product of prodigious research. To the authors, I send my humble gratitude. You have made my life immeasurably easier, and my dishes far more interesting than ever before.

    This book is a must-read if you love to eat or love to cook. I have already bought six copies and have given two as gifts. It’s THAT good.

  5. Timothy B. Riley says


    I started learning to cook by following recipes that were either handed down to me or that I got out of a cookbook or magazine. When comparing this method to professional chefs who pull together wonderful, creative dishes with seemingly effortless ease it seems amateurish and simplistic, however it is a necessary phase. By following recipes I learned crucial techniques as well as what a well prepared meal should look and taste like.

    The next phase started when I tried to create my own recipes by first substituting one ingredient for another and later by going off the reservation completely by trying food combinations that I had never encountered in my recipes. Sometimes this worked, sometimes it led to disaster. Enter The Flavor Bible.

    A few reviewers have criticized this book for being a mere collection of lists of ingredients. Far from that, I see it as the Rosetta Stone for serious home cooks and professional chefs alike. As I have learned to use fresh, locally grown foods more I am often searching for a way to combine them. Trying to find a recipe that allows me to take advantage of a bumper crop of artichokes, sweet onions and garden grown thyme can be challenging. By using The Flavor Bible I look up artichokes and I can see what ingredients compliment it and I can put together a great tasting dish. However, this is only one element of the book.

    Beside listing ingredients and pairing them with other flavors the book also lists cuisines that make use of the ingredient in question. You may also look up a specific cuisine (Indian, Thai, Tex-Mex, Moroccan, etc.) and find commonly used ingredients, Flavor Affinities and often, a paragraph or two from a professional chef. Something else that I liked was that you could look up seasons (summer, winter, etc.) and find what foods are best served when it is hot or cold outside.

    The photographs (by Barry Salzman) are top notch and very inspirational. There are not very many of them but I don’t think that there needs to be since this is not a cookbook you don’t need to see what a particular dish is supposed to look like when completed.

    If you are still a little rusty on technique and are unsure about relative proportions you may not be ready for this book. If however you have graduated from only using the recipes of others and would like to explore unique and wonderful flavor combinations, I couldn’t recommend this book any higher.

  6. Rating

    Bought this book w/o a whole lot of information about it. Can’t believe it — I now have the resource I’ve been looking for —

    I’m a cook with some years of experience, a huge cookbook collection, a list of classes taught by renowned experts and cookbook writers, and still I yearned for a reference that gave me the info on what goes with what (w/o me researching my whole library or classnotes. I guess I need “permissions” and this book gave it to me.

    Tonight I made redfish (snapper in the book) with a crust of almonds, chives, parsley and dill (methodology learned in all those classes). Served w a favorite zuchinni recipe that included the “go-to” ingredients for snapper, and roasted potatoes with light sprinkling of rosemary and salt (again, a “go-to” herb for the main dish).

    It wasn’t overkill (my worry) — it just plain worked and I did it w/o a single recipe. Cut my cooking time in half and raised my personal culinary “thermometer” by a ton of degrees.

    If you cook, know methodology and are looking for a silent but knowledgeable help in the kitchen, buy this book. It’s a gem!!!

  7. V. Finkbeiner says


    This book is the answer to most of your combination questions.I have created my own recipes from just looking up what I have on hand (anything from a meat to veggies and the book helps you combine just the right flavors.Have already given it as gifts!Love love this book,I spend time just dreaming up new dinners for my family.

  8. Ruger Gal says


    I bought this book for my husband who is an “intuitive” cook, in that he rarely follows recipes – he creates by flavor. I thought he would find this book intriguing, and he did. However, he also found (and implemented) all kinds of new and unusual flavor combos that he had never thought of…this book really “thinks outside the box” but also has very practical uses. A book that I thought was interesting trivia, turned out to be an amazing tool for my husband. This book is not recipes (we have enough recipes at our house), rather it is for inspiration. Also I would think a novice cook could learn a great deal about cooking from this book.

  9. Douglas Appelt says


    This book is for the person who wants to understand flavor combinations, and a good assist toward cullinary creativity. It’s definitely for the more experienced chef – it is assumed that the reader has an understanding of how to work with ingredients to make the classic flavor combinations that are recommended in the book. For example, the book will tell you that carrots and lime go well together. It does not tell you whether to chop, puree or juice the carrots, use lime juice or zest, or what other ingredients to combine with them. That’s the part that’s up to your creativity as a chef. Get into the kitchen and go wild!

  10. rodboomboom says


    Prolific culinary author duo Page and Dornenburg are at it again! Supplying truly remarkable, creative,useful tools for the chef who desires max delicisiosio for their guests.

    This continues their trajectory in the earlier “Culinary Artistry” of not being prescriptive but rather equip/resource/inspire the chef who wants to approach max flavor and happiness in their gourmet outpourings. They have extended their approach to this from CA to this offering, which is some sixty pages less, but with some great additions. They axed the frequent representative recipes of the country’s greatest chefs, and added some useful features. I checked and compared some of my favorite ingredients in the two books, e.g. in blackberries, they expanded it by over 35 ingredients, and omitted what I counted, 4. Additionally they intensified the imaginative pairings by looking at such as seasonality, taste, weight, volume, techniques, flavor affinitives. You’ll find this great system on everything from nuts, herbs, cheeses, liquors/wines, Major cuisines, fruits, veggies, grains, pastas, etc.

    This is truly the stuff that chefs who want to explore new combinations or expand old reliables will be inspired by. For instance, I truly enjoy using this also to write down my additional learned pairings, e.g. peach salsa with swordfish.

    The continued chef comments on how they individually approach the idea of flavor combos is enlightening.

    My only minor comment is that I would have wished that they refrained from use of “Bible.” Some just would rather not see this applied to such contexts. Wonderful subtitle would have worked: Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity, or maybe better: Essential Guide to Deliciousness?

    Expanding chefs will want this fine resource, and will wear out its pages as we have CA and their offering on What to Drink with What You Eat. Keep ’em coming, Karen and Andrew.