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13 Cookbooks by Montreal Chefs, Cooks, and Authors That Make Great Gifts

Including ones from Syrian refugee caterers Les Filles Fattoush, the chef of vegan restaurant LOV, and the Mandy’s salad empire

Les Filles Fattoush/Facebook

Montreal winters are a time to gather round, drink, and eat — regardless of holiday tradition. But for those who are currently seeking inspiration for a holiday gift for the home cook on their list, consider a local cookbook. The guide below features recent books by (sometimes former) Montreal chefs, home cooks, and authors, covering a range of cuisines, skill levels, and ideas for what to eat and how to prepare it.

The city’s many independent bookstores — from Westmount’s Appetite for Books, specializing in cookbooks (and cooking classes) and Mile End’s Drawn and Quarterly, to Jean Talon Market’s Librairie Gourmande — are terrific for browsing. If you’re hoping to gift a book written by a local restaurant chef, those can usually be found on the restaurant’s website or takeout counter, too.

Looking for a guide to essential Montreal cookbooks? Check this one out.

Éditions Cardinal | Maude Chauvin/Supplied

Chez Lesley

(Available in French, with an English version planned for 2022)

Recent winner of the Taste Canada Gold for best general cookbook (French), Chez Lesley is a definitive guide for both experienced and less seasoned cooks. Warmly authoritative, former restaurant critic Lesley Chesterman lays out everything you need to know about stocking your pantry and which kitchen tools are best, zeroing in on ingredients (butter!) and menus (Thanksgiving), with loads of sweet and savoury tarts, the perfect roast chicken, homey pastas, and delectable cakes, scones, and chocolates, sumptuously photographed by Maude Chauvin.

book cover, women in field of wheat Les Éditions du Journal/Official

Cuisine Botanique

(Available in French)

Chef of the LOV restaurant group Stéphanie Audet shares vegan and vegetarian recipes and tips in this straightforward guide to eating low on the food chain. Audet includes comfort food from all over, including Sri Lankan egg hoppers with mint chutney, Japanese rice with tea and umeboshi, and jackfruit tacos with sweet potato purée.

Penguin Random House Canada/Official

Flavorbomb: A Rogue Guide to Making Everything Taste Better

(Available in English)

Self-described “cooking charlatan,” TV personality and over-the-top gourmand, Montreal-born Bob Blumer won the Taste Canada Gold Award (English) for his most recent cookbook, a compendium of recipes featuring his own brand of bright umami. Listen to his Spotify playlist while making latke waffles with poached egg and gravlax.

Daniel Shumski/Official

How to Sous Vide

(Available in English)

Thinking of gifting a gadget for the holidays? Think sous vide. Montreal-based cookbook maven Daniel Shumski (author of How to Instant Pot, Will it Waffle? and Will it Skillet?) makes it easy in his newest from classic cookbook imprint Workman Press. The bright flavours and wry wit Shumski brings to this volume make it worth the purchase even if you don’t have a sous vide gizmo. A shoutout to local purveyors Chez Nino and Boucherie Lawrence make this a hometown winner.

Penguin Random House Canada/Official

Jam Bake

(Available in English)

Master preserver, pastry chef, and former Montrealer Camilla Wynne’s ode to summer evokes colours and smells, promising a full larder of jams, jellies, marmalades, and more. Jam Bake incorporates the (preserved) fruits of your labour into pastries, including Angel Biscuit Donuts and Black Forest Torte.

book cover with people on the peachy in rain attire KO Média/Official

L’Apéro au Québec

(Available in French)

Quebec’s lively spirits scene is the spotlight of this lovingly presented volume, highlighting local producers and their passions and how to incorporate their products into special cocktails for any season. Never poured a cocktail in your life? Rose Simard makes it look easy.

Les Filles Fattoush/Official

Les Filles Fattoush

(Available in French)

Solidarity project Les Filles Fattoush originated with the desire to integrate newly arrived Syrian refugee women into the workplace. Showcasing a range of Syrian spice blends and foods, Les Filles quickly became a hit both online and at their summer kiosk at Jean Talon Market. The cookbook features classic dishes like red lentil soup, roasted vegetables with zaatar, and of course their namesake crunchy fattoush salad.

KO Média/Official

Loounie Cuisine 02

(Available in French)

Caroline Huard’s accessible, popular vegan cookbook offers reassuring, straightforward comfort food with a health-conscious twist (in her previous life, Huard was a physiotherapist). The second in a series by the self-taught chef, the book includes crystal-clear explanations of techniques, and her instructions on how to approach cooking when it’s hard to concentrate are a font of common-sense wisdom.


Mandy’s Gourmet Salads

(Available in English and French)

Homer Simpson might have said “You don’t win friends with salad,” but clearly he never ate at Mandy’s. The Wolfe sisters now have eight outlets in the city and their house salad dressings are sold across Canada. A huge bestseller since it was first published in 2020, this cookbook, written in collaboration with Montreal cookbook writer Meredith Erickson, has all of it: the salads (single portion recipes), grain bowls, smoothies, and sweets.

Éditions Cardinal/Official

Montreal l’hiver: Recettes et récits tricotées serrés

(Available in French)

Food writer Susan Semenak and photographer Cindy Boyce are utterly in love with Montreal, and it shows. An ode to the city in winter, the book is organized around cooking (and eating) techniques, shedding light on why comfort and sentimentality are essential at this time of year. Spice mixes and cocktail syrups using pine needles and juniper, Haitian and Ukrainian soups, onion bhajis, dal, apple cakes and homemade truffles are all on offer here.

KO Média/Official

Olive + Gourmando: The Cookbook

(Available in French and English)

For Montrealers and tourists alike, brunch at Olive + Gourmando is a must, despite the legendary lineups to get in. This generous cookbook from Dyan Solomon and Eric Girard’s beloved Old Montreal bakery and café keeps readers toasty with 150 of their faves: biscuits, brownies, mac and cheese, and more. There’s no need to wait in line here; stay cozy and make their grilled cheese with ketchup (and a side of winter beet salad) at home.

Penguin Random House Canada/Official

Secrets From My Vietnamese Kitchen

(Available in French and English)

Food has always been a big part of Kim Thúy’s family life and heritage. After her law career, the now-celebrated author had been a Little Burgundy restaurateur, having opened the now-shuttered restaurant Ru de Nam. Thúy shares easy-to-master recipes from the restaurant and her extended family. Subtitled “Simple Recipes from My Many Mothers,” Thúy brings us into her world of flavours and the diaspora stories of her mother and five beloved aunts. Recipes are presented with suggested wine pairings for dishes like fried lemongrass fish, vermicelli bowls, and caramel pork.

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