As a cookbook collector it’s is important to study quickly where to go for a fix when you move to a new city. It took me a few months, unfortunately for me, fortunately for my wallet, to discover Kinokuniya.
It is a huuuuuge book store hidden on plain sight… on one of the busiest crossings of Sydney CBD. It is situated on the second floor of the commercial centre called The Galeries, just opposite the QVB.
It offers two main sections: Books in English and Books in Japanese. For my craft activities I stick to the Japanese section which is gorgeous and for my cookbook addiction, I go to the biggest cookbook aisle I have ever seen.
Not only this “cuisine” section is enormous but the guy who chooses the books has a real gift… I imagine a guy but it surely is a team of people. Well, all the books I love are there. And if there is an important missing piece, all you need is to order.
I know I know… the net is cheaper, easier, etc… But in the book business, I’d rather give my money to a real store which has a great choice, helpful people and where I can enjoy a wonderful afternoon browsing cookbooks. One of my favourite pastimes. You will find me inelegantly sitting on the ground piling up my new finds and checking out other options. (I wish there was more seats in this stores.)
Giving me the opportunity to do that is priceless. So all my cookbooks come from Kinokuniya, or other brick and mortar stores.
Look at this delightful Indian section. You can only see a small portion of it on this photo. I succumbed a while ago for the big INDIA book I will review here soon. It is extraordinary. Very authentic, the recipes I have made so far were delicious!
Here you see, on the left, the “restaurants’ cookbook section”. You can see the famous NOMA book. This is where I found my beautiful HUNAN book and all the LADURÉE books (savoury, sweet, finger food, macarons and chocolate…). There is a good collection of Aussie grand restaurants’ cookbooks such as MARQUE and QUAY.
Dive into it and spend hours dribbling on these beautiful photographs and recipes…
On the shelf opposite, you will find the “Chefs’ books selection” with Mr Heston Blumenthal and his crazy recipes or the beautiful book by the famous French chef Anne-sophie Pic and all the books from your favourite famous chefs.
There is also a section for “Food literature” with fascinating books soon to be reviewed here such as the “memoirs” of Fuchsia Dunlup (the British queen of Sichuan cuisine), the very interesting and funny “What Caesar did to my salad”, etc.
In the whole store, you will find staff picks and very interesting comments about series, authors or books.
One section I can never skip is the “Asian Cuisine section”. Check out the wonderful books of Fuchsia Dunlup if you like fierce Sichuan food. Try to copy the extraordinary recipes of Neil Perry you will probably have experimented at his underground restaurant “Spice Temple”. The book is called Balance & Harmony.
Do not miss the cook/travel books from Luke Nguyen, if like me, you are a fan of his Greater Mekong show on SBS (and all the others) and if you have been lucky enough to eat at his Sydney restaurant The Red Lantern.
The “Australian cuisine’s section” is very impressive! On the central throne, Pete Evan’s paleo book is reigning over the lot. It seems to be an absolute best-seller.
Of course there is a dedicated and enormous “Dessert section”. It has one of the most impressive dessert cookbooks published in the last few years: DESSERT DIVAS by Christine Manfield. It contains a list of amazing desserts, complicated and carefully assembled from several well explained individual steps. Each step can be used as a separate recipe (crème anglaise, marshmallow, fruit jelly, biscuits, etc). The photography is to die for. It is an expensive book and probably a great idea for a group present.
If you visit Sydney and you like cooking, this is a must visit!