Here’s The Complete List of Every Cookbook Featured on Hulu’s Hit Show of the Summer ‘The Bear’

Update: July 22, 2022, 2:05 p.m.: Set decorator Eric Frankel reached out to provide the complete list of cookbooks featured on The Bear, including in Carmy’s cookbook pile, in the restaurant, and in Sydney’s apartment. Frankel writes that he put together the list by researching chefs’ lists of favorite cookbooks and scouring message boards to learn what cookbooks people training to be chefs liked and found most useful. The cookbook list below is updated with the complete list of cookbooks Frankel provided to Eater SF. (And thank you to all the sleuths who sent in emails to help fill out the previous list.)


The most talked-about TV show of the summer is certainly The Bear and there’s been plenty of discourse about almost every aspect of it, from the clothing — see, “Actually The Bear Is a Menswear Show” — to the internet’s thirst for the “Sexually Competent Dirtbag Line Cook.”

Now I want to talk about the cookbooks.

The show excels at building impressively multidimensional characters through the eight-episode first season, but the showrunners also hid various Easter eggs to add even more layers. Throughout the show, cookbooks serve as shorthand for viewers in the know, giving additional insight into characters and station, while also serving as a bit of set dressing for those who don’t know the NOPIs from the Nomas (which is fine, this is all food nerdery, anyway). The most obvious use of a cookbook as a plot device comes in Marcus’s storyline, as he ups his dessert game, diving deep into The Noma Guide to Fermentation. It’s a fitting nod to the “World’s Best Restaurant,” given that creator Christopher Storer said in an interview Marcus is based on chef Malcolm Livingston II, who worked as pastry chef at the Copenhagen destination.

There are smaller cookbook moments, too – if you’re paying attention. Volume 1 of Modernist Cuisine, the mammoth culinary encyclopedia infamous for being pretty much useless to home cooks, sits like a paperweight in the back office of the restaurant. But perhaps the biggest — and most fleeting — restaurant name check is the big reveal of Carmy’s culinary influences via a giant stack of cookbooks. The scene lasts but a few seconds during the final episode, as Carmy wakes from his cooking show nightmare and hears his brother’s voice alongside jarring quick cuts. “Come on, you’re better than this place,” Mikey says before the camera slowly zooms in on books haphazardly piled on Carmy’s apartment floor.

I freeze-framed this shot to stare at the stack. There were some expected books and authors — Anthony Bourdain, Tartine Bread. But then there were some unexpected inclusions, too, like Cooking at Home by David Chang and Priya Krishna, a book geared almost exclusively toward the home cook. I had questions about the books featured: Does this feel like a fair representation of a chef’s collection or a thrown-together pile of random books? And what does the collection say about the main character?

I reached out to Ken Concepcion, chef and co-owner of Los Angeles cookbook store Now Serving, to help unpack some of the titles picked out for the show. Here are some takeaways — about Carmy, the state of the cookbook industry, and the culinary world at large.

A TV displays a scene from FX’s “The Bear” featuring six stacks of cookbooks.

The Cookbook Pile, itself.
Dianne de Guzman

One of the most striking things about Carmy’s cookbook collection is that it overwhelmingly skews white. But Concepcion, who worked in the restaurant world, including at Wolfgang Puck’s CUT in Beverly Hills, for 12 years, says that’s par for the course. He points to the fact that fine dining has historically been a white, male-led industry, which has boiled over into the cookbook world. “I tag Carmy as early 30s, literally a rising-star chef,” Concepcion says. “So he probably has gobbled up every single fine dining chef’s book, which will illustrate it’s a very white list of authors, for the most part. But I think that’s indicative of fine dining in itself, and of publishing.”

In good news, Concepcion says there’s been a “sea change” in publishing in the last 12 years, with a larger focus on home cooking and home cooks, and a shift away from restaurant chefs. “The focus, especially in the last five years, has been people. The audience now loves food,” he says, noting that cookbook readers today want to learn how to make delicious food at home, not just replicate restaurant dishes. “So it’s a very different field, in addition to the last three years of seeing more of a diverse range of authors and food writers and chefs being selected.”

In regard to the lack of diverse voices in Carmy’s collection, Concepcion has a number of suggestions on how the chef could make some improvements — really, lessons for all cookbook lovers. Beyond being surprised that Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking and Sandor Katz’s The Art of Fermentation didn’t make appearances in the pile, Concepcion’s recommendations aim to give more depth to the collection. He suggests adding in the Bay Area’s own Brandon Jew and Tienlon Ho’s Mister Jiu’s in Chinatown, and generally, more books about Asian cuisines. He’d also love to see books in the stack on Gullah Geechee cuisine, like Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor’s Vibration Cooking, or books celebrating Black foodways and history, like Toni Tipton-Martin’s Jemima Code or Jubilee. “Obviously, diversity would be great, but I also want to see diversity of American regional cuisines, too, like American South, Cajun, Creole, all that stuff,” Concepcion says. “I would love to hand him Mosquito Supper Club’s cookbook, and he would just get lost cooking okra for eight hours.”

Concepcion also name-checked a few standout titles, calling the inclusion of these books — Organum: Nature Texture Intensity Purity by Peter Gilmore and Grand Livre de Cuisine: Alain Ducasse’s Desserts and Pastries — a “big flex” since both are out of print and therefore difficult to acquire. “He definitely went to Kitchen Arts and Letters [in New York City] or Omnivore Books to get those when they came out,” he says. Or, he tracked down these tomes secondhand, which would have required a substantial investment. A quick fact-check of pricing shows the books go for $134 and $337 on Amazon, respectively. For what it’s worth, there’s also an amount of showiness in including three of seven books from the El Bulli collection, which clocks in at $625 from Phaidon.

Bay Area viewers likely also noticed numerous local authors in the mix. As fans know, Carmy worked for two big-name restaurants, Yountville’s French Laundry and Noma in Copenhagen. Fittingly, then, an outsized number of cookbooks hail from the Bay Area: the aforementioned Tartine Bread, as well as a handful of Chez Panisse books, Christopher Kostow’s A New Napa Cuisine, Rich Table, and SPQR. And though it initially struck me as odd Carmy would have so many books from a region where he worked, Concepcion set me straight. “When you’re working in restaurants you’re like, ‘Oh, my friend’s a sous at Manufactory, so I’m gonna pick this up’ or ‘Another friend is a cook who worked on a few recipes at NOPI so I’m picking that up,’” Concepcion says. “So not only do you follow what interests you or what chefs you want to be inspired by, but you also want to support, even if you never cook from the book.”

As for the home cooking cookbooks, Concepcion had a simple answer to account for their presence. “Every cook and chef has a family member or a parent that will give them a cookbook,” Concepcion says. “I’m not saying anything about David Chang — but that feels like a gift.”


Here’s the full list of cookbooks in The Bear:

Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto [A Cookbook]

Aaron Franklin

Sweet: Desserts from London’s Ottolenghi [A Baking Book]

Ottolenghi, Yotam; Goh, Helen

Dessert Person: Recipes and Guidance for Baking with Confidence

Saffitz, Claire

The Seven Sins of Chocolate

Laurent Schott

Roger Verge’s New Entertaining in the French Style

Verge, Roger

Chez Panisse Vegetables

Waters, Alice L.

Daniel My French Cuisine

Boulud, Daniel

Signature Dishes That Matter

Christine Muhlke

Manresa: An Edible Reflection [A Cookbook]

Kinch, David, Muhlke, Christine

Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy (The William and Bettye Nowlin Series in Art, History, and Culture of the Western Hemisphere)

Kennedy, Diana

Urban Italian : Simple Recipes and True Stories from a Life in Food

Carmellini, Andrew, Hyman, Gwen

Larousse Gastronomique : The New American Edition of the World’s Greatest Culinary Encyclopedia

Lang, Jenifer H.

Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes for the Home Cook

Prueitt, Elisabeth

Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking

Hazan, Marcella

Dali

Salvador Dali

Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef

Gabrielle Hamilton

Everyday Greens: Everyday Greens

Annie Somerville

Tu Casa Mi Casa: Mexican Recipes for the Home Cook

Olvera, Enrique; Meehan, Peter [Contributor]; Soto-Innes, Daniela [Contributor];

Momofuku Milk Bar: A Cookbook

Tosi, Christina

Momofuku Milk Bar: A Cookbook

Tosi, Christina

Ritz London : The Cookbook

Williams, John;the Ritz Hotel (london) Limited

Institut Paul Bocuse Gastronomique : The Definitive Step-by-Step Guide to Culinary Excellence: Key Techniques, Ingredients and Recipes Explained in 1,800 Photographs

Institut Paul Bocuse, Institut Paul Bocuse

Book of St. John: Still a Kind of British Cooking

Henderson, Fergus;gulliver, Trevor

Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking

Myhrvold, Nathan; Young, Chris; Bilet, Maxime

The Escoffier Cook Book: A Guide to the Fine Art of Cookery

Escoffier, A.

elBulli 2005-2011

Adrià, Ferran; Adrià, Albert; Soler, Juli

The Art of Simple Food: Notes, Lessons, and Recipes from a Delicious Revolution: A Cookbook

Alice Waters; Patricia Curtan; Kelsie Kerr; Fritz Streiff

The A.O.C. Cookbook

Goin, Suzanne

South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations

Brock, Sean

Night + Market: Delicious Thai Food to Facilitate Drinking and Fun-Having Amongst Friends A Cookbook

Yenbamroong, Kris; Snyder, Garrett

Pierre Gagnaire: Reinventing French Cuisine

Abert, Jean-Francois

Nose to Tail Eating

Fergus Henderson, Jason Lowe

Wookwan’s Korean Temple Food: The Road to the Taste of Enlightenment

Wookwan

Bianco: Pizza, Pasta, and Other Food I Like

Bianco, Chris

Mugaritz: La Cocina Como Ciencia Natural (Mugaritz: A Natural Science of Cooking)Ã Â (Spanish Edition)

elBulli 2005-2011

Adrià , Ferran”, “Adrià , Albert”, “Soler, Juli”

Borago: Coming from the South

Guzman, Rodolfo

Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine

Redzepi, Rene

The Physiology of Taste; Harder’s Book of Practical American Cookery

Harder, Jules Arthur

Moro The Cookbook

Clark, Sam and Sam

POK POK The Drinking Food of Thailand: A Cookbook

Ricker, Andy; Goode, JJ

Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking

Ruhlman, Michael

Smoke and Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen

Lee, Edward

Where Cooking Begins: Uncomplicated Recipes to Make You a Great Cook

Lalli Music, Carla

Coi: Stories and Recipes

Patterson, Daniel

My Pantry: Homemade Ingredients That Make Simple Meals Your Own

Singer, Fanny, Waters, Alice

Superiority Burger Cookbook: The Vegetarian Hamburger Is Now Delicious

Headley, Brooks

The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual

Falcinelli, Frank^Castronovo, Frank^Meehan, Peter

Escoffier: The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery

Smoke and Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen

Lee, Edward

Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making

James Peterson

Serious Eater: A Food Lover’s Perilous Quest for Pizza and Redemption

Ed Levine

Coming to My Senses: The Making of a Counterculture Cook

Alice Waters

Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook

Humm, Daniel; Guidara, Will

The Complete Asian Cookbook Series: China

Solomon, Charmaine

Cooking at Home: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Recipes (And Love My Microwave)

Chang, David; Krishna, Priya

The Gaijin Cookbook: Japanese Recipes from a Chef, Father, Eater, and Lifelong Outsider

Orkin, Ivan; Ying, Chris

Rich Table: (Cookbook of California Cuisine, Fine Dining Cookbook, Recipes From Michelin Star Restaurant)

Rich, Sarah; Rich, Evan

NOPI: The Cookbook

Ottolenghi, Yotam; Scully, Ramael

Joe Beef

David Fennario

The Zuni Caf Cookbook: A Compendium of Recipes and Cooking Lessons from San Francisco’s Beloved Restaurant

Rodgers, Judy

Ama: A Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen (Mexican Food Cookbooks, Tex-Mex Cooking, Mexican and Spanish Recipes)

Centeno, Josef

The Big Fat Duck Cookbook [Import Edition]

Blumenthal, Heston

Culinaria Spain : A Literary, Culinary, and Photographic Journey for Gourmets

The NoMad Cookbook

Humm, Daniel; Guidara, Will; Robitschek, Leo; Tonelli, Francesco [Photographer]

Cook it Raw

Editors of Phaidon

Hartwood: Bright, Wild Flavors from the Edge of the Yucat�n

Werner, Eric, Henry, Mya

Culinary Artistry

Andrew Dornenburg, Karen Page

Mission Street Food: Recipes and Ideas from an Improbable Restaurant

Myint, Anthony, Leibowitz, Karen

SPQR: Modern Italian Food and Wine [A Cookbook]

Lindgren, Shelley, Accarrino, Matthew, Leahy, Kate

Quay: Food Inspired By Nature

Gilmore, Peter

Ottolenghi: The Cookbook

Ottolenghi, Yotam; Tamimi, Sami

Institut Paul Bocuse Gastronomique: The definitive step-by-step guide to culinary excellence

Institut Paul Bocuse

Coi: Stories and Recipes

Patterson, Daniel; Meehan, Peter

Pierre Gagnaire: Reinventing French Cuisine

Abert, Jean-François

The Gift of Southern Cooking: Recipes and Revelations from Two Great American Cooks

Lewis, Edna; Peacock, Scott

Oaxaca Journal (National Geographic Directions)

Oliver Sacks

The Edna Lewis Cookbook

Lewis, Edna/ Peterson, Evangeline

Man Who MIstook His Wife for a Hat

Sacks, Oliver

In Pursuit Of Flavor

Lewis, Edna

English Seafood Cookery (Cookery Library)

Rick Stein

French Country Cooking

David, Elizabeth

Tartine Bread

Chad Robertson

The River Cottage Meat Book: [A Cookbook]

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

A New Napa Cuisine: [A Cookbook]

Kostow, Christopher

The Violet Bakery Cookbook

Ptak, Claire

Desserts By Pierre Herme Herm Greenspan

Grand Livre De Cuisine: Alain Ducasse’s Culinary Encyclopedia

Ducasse, Alain

Toqué! : les artisans d’une gastronomie québécoise

Laprise, Normand

Polpo: A Venetian Cookbook (of Sorts) (Hardback)

Russell Norman

Goose Fat and Garlic

Jeanne Strang

Ma Cuisine

Escoffier, Auguste

Organum: Nature Texture Intensity Purity

Peter Gilmore

Daniel My French Cuisine

Boulud, Daniel; Sylvie Bigar

The Complete Robuchon

Robuchon, Joel

D.O.M.: Rediscovering Brazilian Ingredients

Atala, Alex

Benu

Lee, Corey

In Pursuit of Flavor: The Beloved Classic Cookbook from the Acclaimed Author of The Taste of Country Cooking

Lewis, Edna

The New Professional Chef (TM)

The Culinary Institute of America

Food in England

Dorothy Hartley

Vegetables by Forty French Chefs

Mikanowski, Lyndsay,Mikanowski, Patrick

Eating with the Chefs

Jorgensen, Per-Anders

The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adria

AdriÃ, Ferran

Atelier

Lepine, Marc with Anne Desbrisay

Morimoto: The New Art of Japanese Cooking

Morimoto, Masaharu

The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern

Fleming, Claudia; Clark, Melissa

Guide de l’amateur de pain

Poilane, Lionel

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