Lisa Gershenson

Lisa Gershenson

Food entrepreneur and culinary educator

https://www.cooksgazette.com/
For more than 30 years, Lisa Gershenson has honed her passion, knowledge and skills in the kitchen. She was founder and co-owner of one of Chicago’s finest caterers, J & L Inc. She was the director of the Community Kitchen program at the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Her program there was the recipient of the “National Best” Award by America’s Second Harvest, was profiled in the Wall Street Journal and featured on PBS’ News Hour with Jim Lehrer. The school lunch program that she helped design and she ran at Perspectives Charter School was described as the “gold standard for school lunches” in Chicago Magazine. With an interest in social enterprises and training, Lisa served as chief operating officer for Sweet Miss Giving’s Bakery and consulted on the Hot Bread Kitchen in New York City. Along the way Lisa has shared her extraordinary talent, wisdom (and heavenly food) as a consultant to numerous culinary start-ups as well as with countless family members, friends, and colleagues. Indeed, Lisa’s interest in and ability to share her knowledge and culinary expertise may be her greatest achievement – she has inspired and encouraged many good souls to new heights in their own kitchens.

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Lisa's favorite cookbooks

Classic Indian Cooking

Classic Indian Cooking

Julie Sahni

I love Indian food and have many different volumes that focus on specific regions and styles of cooking. However, this was my first Indian cookbook and it provided me with a strong foundation based on the spices, fragrant herbs and seasonings, equipment and techniques common to Indian food.

Ready for Dessert

Ready for Dessert

David Lebovitz

David Lebovitz was the pastry chef at Chez Panisse for 12 years and then abruptly moved to Paris following the death of his partner. There he continues to write books on desserts, French food and life in Paris along with maintaining his very popular blog. Although I’ve been working in professional kitchens for over 35 years, I'm not a very good baker. Every chef needs a few desserts in their repertoire that they can reliably produce. In his first book Ready for Dessert, he has recipes for pies, tarts, cookies, ice creams and more. The recipes are always reliable with instructions that are easy to follow, guaranteeing success for even the inexperienced baker.

Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art

Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art

Shizuo Tsuji

Tsuji’s goal was not merely to present a series of recipes, but rather to teach the reader how to cook in the spirit of Japan––or as he puts it, to “lay open the heart of Japanese cuisine.” To accomplish this, the book is not organized like traditional Western cookbooks, by course or by ingredient. In the spirit of traditional Japan, it is organized by cooking methods, which is how a meal is planned.

Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art

Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art

Shizuo Tsuji

Tsuji’s goal was not merely to present a series of recipes, but rather to teach the reader how to cook in the spirit of Japan––or as he puts it, to “lay open the heart of Japanese cuisine.” To accomplish this, the book is not organized like traditional Western cookbooks, by course or by ingredient. In the spirit of traditional Japan, it is organized by cooking methods, which is how a meal is planned.

Cooking Under Pressure

Cooking Under Pressure

Lorna Sass

In 2011, I started to explore the book that had taken the culinary profession by storm, Modernist Cuisine by Nathan Myhrvold. I thought it was going to focus only on new techniques and ingredients, like cooking sous vide or spherification. I was surprised to learn that Myhrvold and his team at the Cooking Lab were interested in pressure cookers too. It has become an essential tool in my kitchen, always used for making stocks, soups, legumes and braises. Lorna Sass wrote what I still think is the best book on the topic, Cooking Under Pressure, first published in 1989. It’s most valuable for me not as a source of the recipes but for all her information on timing and technique.

Chinese Gastronomy

Chinese Gastronomy

Hsiang Ju Lin and Tsuifeng Lin

Way more than a compendium of recipes, this book explores the secret to Chinese gastronomy; “flavors should blend and textures should vary.” How to manipulate and control these elements provides the structure of the book, communicated through witty instructions to the cook. Recipes are presented to illustrate culinary principles and the goals, motives and methods of the Chinese cook.

Available on ckbk now
BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts

BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts

Stella Parks

Gathered in one volume all the classics…cookies, cakes, pies, donuts, breakfast treats…their history in the American cook’s repertoire and precise instructions on how to recreate them in your own kitchen. Besides the recipes, her instructions always include why things work, putting you in control and making success much more likely.

Jewish Cooking in America

Jewish Cooking in America

Joan Nathan

This book is a fascinating collection of classic Ashkenazi and Sephardic recipes as they have been reinterpreted in America and adapted to local culture. Food plays a major part in family and community rituals and the kosher recipes are seasoned with Syrian, Moroccan, Greek, German, Polish, and Alsatian flavors adapted to the customs in communities from New York to California, from the Midwest to the Deep South. Besides excellent recipes, all chapters are accompanied by stories about life in Jewish communities all across America.

Available on ckbk now
The New Spanish Table

The New Spanish Table

Anya von Bremzen

Although the author was born in Soviet Russia, in the early eighties she began traveling all over Spain spending the next twenty years exploring the cuisine. She was drawn to the regional rigor, the impact of tradition and the newly celebrated creativity as Spain emerged from the repression and deprivation of the Franco years. Usually I favor books on cuisine from a specific country written by an author from the region. However, her recipes, encompassing both the traditional and the trendy, come from an extraordinary wealth of sources. She shares where she learned to prepare a particular recipe, the region it’s from and how it fits into the context of Spanish food. It’s the best book on Spanish food in my library