10 books for the food geek (that aren't cookbooks)


I have a thing for cookbooks. I love them! Actually, I rarely follow a recipe when I cook. But cookbooks can do something very special. When I can't sleep, I choose 3-4 cookbooks from my now large collection and leaf through them until I fall asleep. Food makes me both calm and happy, so I can easily fall asleep.

I have a tradition of buying a cookbook in the local language when I travel to a new country. Even though I often don't understand what it actually says. That's why I often choose a cookbook with lots of pictures, and preferably with recipes that tell something about the country I'm in. I think it tells a lot about a culture, what food they eat. Some people collect fridge magnets from different countries, I collect cookbooks.

But after reading the fantastic book by Martin Kongstad; 'The cook who stopped blushing' made me think about what other books there might be for us food lovers. So not cookbooks, but books about food or chefs that are worth reading.

So here are books for foddies, food geeks and anyone who wants to read a good book. Whether it's for a Christmas present, an almond gift, for your bookshelf or something completely different, I'll leave that up to you.

I find this type of book hard to find because when I google, it's usually cookbooks that come up. So I asked my food-obsessed followers on Instagram, and here is the list we came up with together.



Fantastic book! You follow chef Magne Oldenburg, who is chasing a Michelin star. Magne meets an ambitious woman from Gl. Rye, Madeleine, and together with the investor Carsten, they want a Michelin star for Magne's restaurant. No matter what.

The book is about the costs that come with success, and is written by Martin Kongstad, who, through his many years as a food critic, has an in-depth knowledge of the restaurant industry. A book I will read again and again.


THE COOK WHO HAD ENOUGH by Francis Cardenau

Francis Cardenau was the first to get Michelin stars for Denmark, and he has and has had an absolutely enormous importance for the food culture in Denmark. In the book, you follow Francis in the year when he realizes that after 45 years in the restaurant business, he has had enough. You also get a poignant insight into Francis' childhood in south-west France. Francis is a very important person for 'Mad Danmark', and this is an absolutely fantastic book that everyone will enjoy reading.


NEUROGASTRONOMY by Nikolaj Buchardt and Rasmus Bredahl

Food is not just food. Food is also science. Nikolaj and Rasmus write themselves:
Why are we stimulated by something that crunches? Why do we automatically avoid foods that have a certain color, while other colors attract us? And why do we talk so much about taste, when in reality our sense of smell gives us a thousand times as many impulses? This book gives you the answer to that. It takes you on a journey into the brain that completely controls everything that happens when you get hungry and while you eat.”

It sounds complex, and it is, but the book is written in easy language and contains approx. 50 recipes that show how you can use the principles you learn about in the book.

Rasmus also holds some really good workshops on the subject, so keep an eye out for them on the website https://neurogastronomy.com/ .

SENSE OF TASTE by Ole G. Mouritsen and Klavs Styrbæ k

This is a book for those who want to understand food on a new level.

The authors themselves write: "Cooking and the art of cooking are largely about changing the physical and chemical properties of the raw materials and transforming the raw materials into food and meals. Cooking thus becomes to a great extent an exercise in producing a desired mouthfeel from the raw materials and the prepared food.

This book focuses on the importance of mouthfeel for the overall taste of food. That focus can lead to tastier meals and in some cases to healthier food as well. At the same time, knowledge of how the physical properties of food create mouthfeel can provide inspiration for a more exciting and versatile kitchen with lots of surprises".

Just like the book 'Neurogastronomy', this book gives you knowledge that will change the way you think about food.



Martin Kongstad finely depicts the story of Hansen Ice, and a family that has helped to change Danish ice cream culture. You follow the family through 100 years and 4 generations with ice cream.

An exciting book that tells the story of how passion and nerdiness have helped to move an ice cream culture that was largely non-existent 100 years ago to today, where ice is equal to summer and sun.


Third book on my top 10 list, written by Martin Kongstad. It's no secret that I love the way Martin Kongstad writes.

'Bearnaise is the King of Animals' is his collected texts about food from 1994-2018. The title is also food reviews on the radio, where Kongstad reviews a restaurant and talks to a companion along the way. But the book is my favorite because it gives a unique insight into the restaurant industry over 25 years.



Anthony Bourdain hardly needs an introduction. But if you still want to know a little, he was a world-renowned chef and writer, who was especially known for his travel documentaries. Bourdain was a big personality in the whole food world. To put it in perspective, Obama wrote about Bourdain "He taught us about food — but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown”. Bourdain died aged 61 on June 8, 2018.


'Kitchen Confidential' came about because Bourdain published an article in The New Yorker, "Don't Eat Before Reading This". The articles were such a success that the book was subsequently written. The book gives an insight into the restaurant industry and does not lie.

A 'must read' for anyone interested in food.



In 2010, Noma became the world's best restaurant on the 'World's 50 Best' List. In 2011, Rasmus Kofoed won gold for the Bocuse D'Or. These were two pivotal events for the gastronomic revolution that Denmark has been through.

The past 30 years have been important for Danish food history, and this is portrayed in the finest way in this book.

Ole Troelsø is a journalist and gastronomy editor at Børsen, and since 2001 has reviewed restaurants throughout Denmark, and is one of the best-known reviewers in Denmark.


TO THE BONE by Paul Liebrandt and Andrew Friedman

Paul Liebrandt is a Michelin chef and co-owner of the restaurant 'Corton' in New York, and main character in the documentary 'A Matter of Taste: Serving up Paul Liebrandt'. The book here depicts his life from when he started in the restaurant business at the age of 15 and later found himself at the finest restaurants in both London, Paris and New York.

This describes the book in a nutshell: "Punctuated throughout with dishes that mark the stages of his personal and professional life, all of them captured in breathtaking color photography, this is Liebrandt's literary tasting menu, a portrait of a chef putting it together and constantly pushing himself to challenge the way he, and we, think about the possibilities of food”.



It all began in 1970 at a café next to the Hostellerie de la Poste in the town of Avallon in France, where the married couple Lene and Sven Grønlykke managed to persuade the 25-year-old chef at La Poste, Michel-Patrick Michaud, to come to Denmark and create a French menu at their newly renovated inn in Faldsled, which was to open in 1971.

From here began the development of Danish cuisine as we know it today, and it was a tough fight, because Denmark was a gastronomic underdeveloped country. But together with his four compatriots, Jean-Louis Lieffroy, Christian Bind, Daniel Letz and Francis Cardenau, Michaud made some of the most decisive quantum leaps in Danish food history.
An eminent book with many good anecdotes.



Those were my recommendations. Feel free to comment with your best books for the food geek in the comment field below, so that we can inspire each other for even more good reading hours.

If you are looking for cookbooks, I have made a guide to my 10 best cookbooks.


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