We’re coming up to peak cookbook-publishing season, and there’s a bumper crop of tomes we can’t wait to get our oven mitts on. From a book by an acclaimed Sydney chef that’s all about unleashing new ideas in your home kitchen to a call-to-action for sustainable seafood cooking by a James Beard winner, and 100-plus new recipes from chef Danielle Alvarez, they’ll strengthen your cooking game, give you food for thought and, at the very least, make for a great Christmas present. Time to tap that “pre-order” button for these 10.

Ester: Australian Cooking by Mat Lindsay with Pat Nourse
Who’s it by?
Mat Lindsay is the acclaimed chef-proprietor of Sydney woodfire-fuelled restaurant Ester, and its spin-off wine bar, Poly. (Nigella Lawson has called him a “true genius”.) Meanwhile, Pat Nourse’s years spent as Gourmet Traveller’s chief restaurant critic and deputy editor means you can expect the reading of this one to be as satisfying as the cooking.

What is it?
Lindsay’s MO is cooking that’s hard to define, but always inventive. It could loosely be termed “modern-Australian” – it weaves in flavours and inspirations resulting in Sydney-famous dishes like fermented potato bread and a blood sausage sanga. This boundary-less cooking is reimagined for the home kitchen in Ester the cookbook. Think pickled mussels as banging in a salad as they are on toast, and dramatic wood-grilled calamari and lardo skewers.

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Who needs it?
Anyone who’s stuck in a breakfast-lunch-dinner rut, wants to rethink how they approach home cooking, or simply wants to soak up some ace writing courtesy of Nourse.

Why we want it?
To get a glimpse inside the mind of one of the best chefs working in Australia today – and try to decode his cleverness.

When is it out?
October 3, from Murdoch Books.

Meatsmith: Home Cooking For Friends And Family by Andrew McConnell and Troy Wheeler

Who’s it by?
Heard of Gimlet, Cutler & Co, Supernormal and Cumulus Inc? Then you’ve probably heard of their owner, restaurateur and chef Andrew McConnell. Butcher Troy Wheeler co-owns Meatsmith – a foursome of upmarket butcher shops – with McConnell. Simply put, they know meat.

What is it?
As its name suggests, 80-plus recipes for cooking meat in style. It’s all about sharing stunning meals in which meat plays a part – whether as the main event, or as a bit on the side. Think Meatsmith’s signature beef Wellington, tips on cooking a perfect rib-eye, and advice on how to nail a roast. Recipes for salads and other sides make it a one-stop shop for your next dinner party or special occasion.

Who needs it?
Those who want to do justice to a good cut of meat and the animal it came from. Dads who reckon “well-done” steak is the only way.

Why we want it
Because if it results in anything half as good as what Meatsmith sells, we want in.

When is it out?
November 1, from Hardie Grant.

Recipes for a Lifetime of Beautiful Cooking by Danielle Alvarez with Libby Travers
Who’s it by?
Miami-born Alvarez made a name for herself Down Under as the founding head chef of Sydney farm-to-table restaurant Fred’s. Though new to the city, she quickly gained a legion of followers for her rustic, no-fuss, produce-forward cooking, honed at Alice Waters’s Californian classic Chez Panisse. Libby Travers is a food writer who has co-authored books like Meat: The Ultimate Companion and Icebergs Dining Room and Bar 2002–2022.

What is it?
More than 100 recipes reflecting the influences of Alvarez’s life: her Cuban heritage, kitchen roles in California and Australia, adoration of Italian and French food, and the Asian flavours that have made an impact since she moved to Sydney. There’s a weeknight-friendly zucchini frittata, and larger weekend projects like sweet and sour cumin lamb shoulder.

Who needs it?
Anyone who cares where their food comes from, and wants to have recipes on hand to cook with the seasons. Regular dinner-party hosts who hope to exude an “Oh this?” attitude with rustic desserts and wholesome salads.

Why we want it
While we adore a cooking project, sometimes hopping from specialty grocery store to butcher to cheesemonger to make one recipe is a bit of an ask. This cookbook promises you’ll find all its ingredients in your basic grocery store, and we can get on board with that.

When is it out?
November 2, from Murdoch Books.

Fish Butchery: Mastering the Catch, Cut and Craft by Josh Niland
Who’s it by?
Sydney seafood savant Josh Niland is the chef-owner of restaurants Saint Peter and Petermen, and fishmongers Fish Butchery. He’s respected around the globe for his fin-to-gill approach to cooking seafood, and for championing sustainable fishing practices. In 2020 he became the first Aussie to win the prestigious James Beard book of the year award for The Whole Fish Cookbook.

What is it?
Both a cookbook and a call to action for eating seafood more sustainably, and to use parts of fish and other fruits of the sea that we might typically throw out (hearts, spleens and kidneys included). Alongside recipes, it’ll also show you how to break down your catch. As for the recipes, they’re for familiar foods that wouldn’t typically be made with seafood: a bresaola of tuna; scallop, prawn and salmon frankfurts; and tuna mincemeat pie.

Who needs it?
Those who care about the future of our seas (but don’t want to give up seafood). Your mate who’s a dab hand in the kitchen and up for a challenge.

Why we want it
Josh Niland continues to be one of the country’s most groundbreaking, forward-thinking chefs. We’d be happy for some of his cleverness to rub off on our home cooking.

When is it out?
August 30, from Hardie Grant.

There’s Always Room for Cheese: A Guide to Cheesemaking at Home by Colin Wood
Who’s it by?
You may not know Colin Wood’s name, but you might know his cheese. His grilled jersey milk became an Insta-hit in Sydney during lockdowns, when the Poly chef (he’s also worked at Melbourne’s Cumulus Inc) did sell-out drops of his fromage. Since, he’s popped up in Melbourne and Perth and now sells his cheese to take home. It’s safe to say Wood knows his way around whey.

What is it?
A fromage primer. It’ll teach you how to make cheese from scratch and what to do with your leftover whey. Don’t want to go that deep? There’s a raft of sweet and savoury recipes spotlighting the good stuff, from fromage blanc and strawberry doughnuts to cow’s curd brûlée, plus tips for compiling the perfect cheese board.

Who needs it?
Your mate who loves cheesy cheese slogans like “Keep calm and eat cheese” and “You can’t please everyone, you’re not cheese”, but needs an incentive to venture beyond cheddar. Anyone who nailed sourdough in 2020 and needs another project. Everyone who’s not lactose-intolerant, basically.

Why we want it
Wood is cementing himself as a leading fromage authority, and we want what he’s having. And did we mention all the cheese?

When is it out?
September 20, from Hardie Grant.

Sustain: Groundbreaking Recipes And Skills That Could Save The Planet by Jo Barrett
Who’s it by?
Chef Jo Barrett has built her career on a passion for sustainability, embedded during her time at Oakridge Wines in the Yarra Valley and put into public practice when she spent six months living on an urban farm in Melbourne’s Federation Square, living off only produce grown on-site. These days you’ll find her in Lorne, heading up Little Picket, a restaurant in the local bowlo that has community at its core.

What is it?
Recipes for stuffed potato cakes, red pepper pasta, venison pie and plum galette are reason enough to buy this book – but every recipe comes with an in-built dedication to sustainable eating and cooking. It goes beyond just following recipes, though; instead, Barrett teaches foundational skills such as preserving and fermenting that’ll give the home cook the tools to make their own kitchen more sustainable.

Who needs it?
Home cooks who care about the planet and food waste – and those who need a little push to activate their care factor.

Why we want it
One of the country’s most forward-thinking chefs plus help to make our cooking zero-waste equals our interest piqued.

When is it out?
August 30, from Hardie Grant.

Rumi: Food of Middle Eastern Appearance by Joseph Abboud
Who’s it by?
Joseph Abboud has been serving Melburnians modern Middle Eastern food at his Brunswick restaurant Rumi since 2006. Using his Lebanese heritage as a launchpad, he’s put his own spin on dishes from around the region, becoming an authority on the subject in the meantime.

What is it?
Rumi the cookbook is packed with Middle Eastern dishes that have helped make Rumi the restaurant a success over the last 17 years, including its can’t-stop-at-one three-cheese sigaras (similar to borek) and beautiful lamb shoulder. The 60-odd recipes are simple, but impressive.

Who needs it?
Rumi fans and anyone else who wants to add more Middle Eastern dishes to their repertoire, or improve their knowledge of the region’s cuisines.

Why we want it
Because we want to make the quail Anthony Bourdain ate at home.

When is it out?
October 31, from Murdoch Books.

The Best Things in Life Are Cheese: An Incomplete (but Delicious) Guide to Cheese by Ellie and Sam Studd
Who’s it by?
Ellie and Sam Studd are a brother-sister duo that grew up around cheese; their dad is cheese expert Will Studd. The siblings have built their own fromage-focused reputations, working with their dad to source and sell artisanal and farmhouse cheeses from around the world.

What is it?
This one’s all about dialling up your cheese knowledge, from how the cheeses of the world are made to their backstories, where to buy the best cheese and how to store it. It’s also chock-full with 70 fromage-starring recipes: baked camembert, multiple takes on mac’n’cheese, and haloumi and watermelon salad.

Who needs it?
Cheese-lovers who want to improve their knowledge of the stuff, and include it in more dishes.

Why we want it
Because if you’re going to listen to anyone in Australia talk cheese, the Studd family is a good place to start.

When is it out?
October 31, from Pan Macmillan.

CDMX: The Food of Mexico City by Rosa Cienfuegos

Who’s it by?
Rosa Cienfuegos is beloved for bringing the traditional flavours and dishes – in particular tamales – of her native Mexico to Sydneysiders at her restaurants Tamaleria and Itacate. Born and raised in Mexico City, she’s passionate about the food of her home country. Her debut cookbook Comida Mexicana, a celebration of Mexican street food, was an international hit.

What is it?
This time around, Cienfuegos is zeroing in on the food found in her home city, from its markets to its street vendors and cafes. Not only is it about dishes born in Mexico City, but also all the other regional Mexican cuisines that can be found in the capital. And with bar, restaurant and market recommendations, it also makes an ideal companion for your next trip to Mexico City. Inside you’ll find recipes for totopos (tortilla chips), tostadas, a host of tacos and more.

Who needs it?
Lovers of Mexican food who want to go beyond what’s offered in Aussie restaurants.

Why we want it
Cienfuegos knows Mexican food better than almost anyone else in Australia today – who better to learn from?

When is it out?
October 29, from Smith Street Books and distributed by Thames & Hudson.

Gohan: Everyday Japanese Cooking by Emiko Davies
Who’s it by?
Emiko Davies is a Japanese-Australian food writer based in Italy. She grew up in Australia on the Japanese food fed to her by her mum, and also spent time living in China and the USA.

What is it?
Not Italian – Davies’s previous books have focused on the cuisines of the boot, but this time she’s looking to her Japanese heritage for everyday meals. (She gives a great explanation of why this is her first Japanese book here.) It busts the myth that Japanese food is difficult to cook at home via dishes such as tamagonogohan (stir-fried egg and rice), curry, yakisoba and soba noodle soup.

Who needs it?
Anyone who wants to add a slate of simple and seasonal home-cooked recipes to their arsenal.

Why we want it
We loved Davies’s forays into Italian cooking – and we’re excited to dig into the dishes she grew up on and loves.

When is it out?
October 29, from Smith Street Books and distributed by Thames & Hudson.