The Professional Chef

The Professional Chef

The Professional Chef Rating:
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Product Description

Recognized as the definitive cooking school textbook, the Culinary Institute of America's The Professional Chef is also the perfect guide for independent study at home. More than 1,000 pages are packed into the voluminous seventh edition, with information and recipes designed to teach technique. It is so comprehensive, it could be the only cookbook you need to own. Almost guaranteed to answer any question you could possibly imagine, The Professional Chef is one of the most useful reference books ever written for the kitchen.

With thousands of photos showing step-by-step instructions, you'll learn to identify and trim any kind of meat, seafood, fruit, and vegetable, and extensive photos and descriptions of spices, pasta, and grains take the guesswork out of new and unusual recipes. Seemingly complicated techniques for recipes such as Hollandaise Sauce are described with photos and with so many tips, tricks, and troubleshooting guides you feel as though an instructor is cooking alongside you. Organized from the simplest techniques and most basic information to the more complicated, you can use this book as a reference guide, a resource for increasing your confidence in the kitchen, or as a recipe-filled cookbook. The seventh edition has been completely reworked to include more-contemporary techniques alongside classic, more-sophisticated recipes, and there's greater emphasis on food safety, nutrition, and technology in the kitchen. --Leora Y. Bloom


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  1. Pat Wildenburg says


    As a business professional, there is very little time to enjoy the great things in life. A good part of this precious time is spent in the kitchen. I love to cook. It is quite a stress reliever. I have been cooking now for the last 14 years. While I tend to use cook books and cooking magazines to guide me, I did invest in the Professional Chef book about 3 years ago. It is an ideal tool. Not only does it have recipes galore, it is the A-Z catalog of cooking ideas, instruction, types of utensils one needs, etc. I highly recommend for those that are starting out; for those like me that treat cooking as a serious hobby; and for those serious chefs that are in constant pursuit of recipes…The CIA is magnificent…

  2. Elliot Essman says


    I’ve always believed that the serious amateur chef (or skier, auto mechanic, or gardener) can always benefit from professional training and approach. The Professional Chef (7th ed., 2002) is promulgated by the venerable Culinary Institute of America (the other CIA). It is the institute’s complete basic professional course. The book is profusely, nay, minutely, illustrated.

    Since The Professional Chef is a text, written based on the CIA’s experience in teaching food techniques to thousands of students who often come to the Institute knowing next to nothing about food, it is organized for learning. The book gives full detail on every basic culinary technique, explains scientific backgrounds of major food phenomena, repeats and recapitulates nicely. This is a serious text, but of course you do not have to master the whole thing.

    Ever wanted to really know how to cut a carrot? The Professional Chef will give you illustrations and exact instructions on julienne, batonnet, brunoise, paysanne, fermière, lozenge, rondelle, and tourné techniques. Preparation techniques for individual vegetables-onion, garlic, leeks, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, chestnuts, corn, artichokes, peas, avocados, asparagus-get their own illustrated spreads.

    Lest you begin to think “this is way too much detail for me,” bear in mind that the CIA has bent over backwards to make these materials superbly usable and didactically sound. Dip often into this true resource; double dip if no one is looking.

    Food writer Elliot Essman’s other reviews and food articles are available at

  3. Mary K. Johnson says


    I have been cooking for quite some time now, and I am always digging for newer and better recipes and even different variations. This book had much more than I had ever thought that it would. It has a chapter dedicated to nutrition, kitchen safety, equipment, and all sorts of examples as well as photo’s for everything, including cuts of meats, fish, poultry, etc.
    It also thoroughly covers all sorts of food preparation, and the recipes!!! The recipes look just wonderful. It covers everything from simple broths, breads, sandwiches to different types of pastry. It is a great book for the beginner, as well as the experienced cook.
    I have already tried a few of the recipes, and they are truely wonderful, and have been well tested. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves to cook and bake..
    One word of caution… Most of the recipes are geared to cooking of large quantities, for 10 portions or better. Breads for 8-10 loaves, and so on, so be prepared to modify your quantities.

  4. BooksFoodFilmTV says


    I just got this, but I’m so excited about it! I feel like I’m entering the professional chef’s world, but learning plenty I can use right at home. The book is HUGE and packed with a tremendous, tremendously instructional amount of information with tons of pictures to show how to do things. Judging from what I’ve read so far–about things like “mise en place”–there’s a lot about how to cook like a chef that’s new to me–it seems like learning a foreign language! It shows the proper way use and sharpen a chef’s knife, identifies all the different cuts of meat, shows the difference between a “batonette” or “brunoise” cut of vegetables. But I’ve already tried holding my knife differently, like the book tells you to, and it’s definitely an improvement.

    There’s also tons of recipes that sound great, and I like the fact the book teaches you the steps to make “major” recipes (for example, for risotto), so then if you learn it and get the hang of it, you can make a whole slew of different recipes (ex. mushroom risotto, risotto with asparagus tips, saffron risotto with shrimp, etc.) I can’t wait to get through it all!

  5. Rating

    If cooking is a creative process for you (as opposed to just following instructions), or you would like it to be, you’ll love this textbook. The Professional Chef will help you expand your cooking fundamentals and teach you things that you’ll use even when you’re not cooking from it.

    What I love about this book is that it’s not just recipes. My boyfriend’s mother hates it for the same reason. Its chapters are structured by type of food and/or meal courses, and each one highlights general techniques for cooking and prepration, going through one recipe in detail and listing a bunch of others at the end. There’s priceless info on general techniques (What are the different ways you can thicken a sauce or soup, and how do they differ?) and great reference info (What does spice x look like in its whole form?).

    As mentioned in other reviews, this is intended as a textbook for professionals in training at the Culinary Institute of America (a.k.a. “the Harvard of cooking schools”). So in addition to techniques and recipies, it contains info about food safety, nutrition, restaurant budgets, and other areas which are not necessarily applicable to the average home chef. But the slightly obsessed or very serious home chef will love reading about all of it.

    The bottom line is that it’s a well done book, and if the title appeals to you, you’ll enjoy it. The amazon price is an added bonus …

  6. Rating

    First of all, this is not just a “cook book”. It is a book about cooking and there is a huge distinction. In many ways it defies description…it is a homage to Larousse in its references to (and admiration of) classical French cuisine but it is not a didactic recitation of rules nor is it a mind-boggling tome about the science of cooking.

    First of all, it is eminently readable and beautiful to view. The pictures are all full-color and offer minute details rarely found in other cookbooks. The steps for cleaning soft-shelled crab are a work of art. It is a guide “for the professional chef” which includes those folks who make money cooking or those amateurs who prepare elaborate meals for the sheer artistry and taste. What is most helpful are the “basics” – the little things that professionals do that makes their food taste so good.

    The first few chapters deal with the basics BUT is written with a professional in mind (how to buy meats in quantity, compute cost per meal, appropriate actions of kitchen workers, many descriptions). Then there are chapters on the science of cooking which require more than one reading. Following that we come to sauces, creams, soups, broths and roux – in my opinion, without a doubt, the most important items in the book since these form the basis of every reputable kitchen.

    A meticulous step-by-step approach is explained and illustrated in the best single-volume presentation of its kind. Always, there are little hints and common sense rules. Identifying meats, vegetables, fish precede actual recipes that are simply mouth-watering. WARNING*** This is not a tome for beginners but is quite possible the best teacher outside of a classroom you will ever find.

  7. Kevin Bruyette says


    At the risk of simply repeating, at length, the sentiments expressed in earlier reviews, I’ll be brief…

    This is an amazingly comprehensive work that covers seemingly every facet of professional cooking. The book is arranged nicely and follows a logical progression.

    In buying this book I was looking for something that could speak to cooking technique in such a way as to improve my cooking KNOWLEDGE, vice a simple book of recipes. This book has unlocked a good deal of creativity in me, in that now that I understand the principles that govern how certain types of food behave, I can get on with making up some of my own stuff.

    The only word of caution I can provide is that the recipes inside usually make enough for 10 people. If you are comfortable with making conversions you will have no problem.

    The Bottom Line: If you own no other book about cooking technique covering a broad range of topics, this is the book.

  8. William Mullins says


    As a chef and graduate of the Culinary, I have hauled this mammoth book around from location to location. However, on one such occasion, I lost my most favorite tool. So here I am, replacing my most valuable training and reference tool. I highly recommend this book for anyone in the industry that wants to pass on knowledge, or for the serious home or restaurant cook that wants to take their cooking to the next level.