The Chef's Library is a series in which we ask chefs around town to tell us about their favorite cookbooks. Today, n/naka's chef Niki Nakayama gives us a few cookbooks (and one magazine!) she wouldn't want to be without.

With the exception of the first book, after a search on eBay and other sites, it looks as if you'll probably need to take a trip to Japan to get your hands on the last three of these books.

4. Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook: “I love this book for its pure simple beauty. It reminds me that food can be presented in an artful manner and yet maintain the integrity of it being what it is — food. I love that it's complex in preparations and executions, and yet no ingredient ever gets lost.”

3. Shiki Nihon No Ryori: “This is a four book collection, separated by seasons and written in Japanese. These are always the first books I reach for when a new season is approaching. Incredibly traditional. I always feel that before I put menus together, I have to remind myself what Japanese cooking is trying to convey. I always feel that to be able to interpret something properly, I have to have a true understanding of its foundations.”

2. Art Culinaire: “Every few months, when I receive a copy of Art Culinaire, I'm inspired by all the creativity of the chefs that contribute to the magazine. It's such a wonderful way to be exposed to all the talent and ideas from fellow chefs.”

1. Shiki no Sara Yasai Ryori: “Another cookbook written in Japanese that showcases vegetables as the main ingredient, with seafood and meat as incidentals. I enjoy how this book recognizes that vegetables prepared with care and integrity are delicious and satisfying.”

See also:

5 Restaurant Recommendations from n/naka Chef Niki Nakayama

The Chef's Library archives

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