Between meetings and after work, you can find us reading everything about meat and seafood.
No one from the Bessie team has a food background, but every member has a hunger to learn and grow. We want to provide you with the best information and we want to support our producers the best way we can. Each of the following books has inspired us to cook interesting cuts, understand sustainable practices and build Bessie.
1. Chicken and Charcoal by Matt Abergel
In 240 pages, fellow Canadian, Matt Abergel (headchef at Yardbird in Hong Kong) shares yakitori recipes, how they source their chicken and grilling techniques. Simply put, this book is beautiful. From the illustration on the cover to the carefully crafted photographs. It is stunning and a book that every person (novice chef or not) should have. What we loved: the step-by-step break down of a chicken.
2. MEAT: Everything You Need to Know by Carolynn Carreño and Pat LaFrieda
Have you ever wondered what cuts come from what animal and why? Well, this book will tell you everything you need to know. With bright photos, clear instructions and beautiful stories, this book will teach you how to cook pork, beef, chicken and more. What we loved: the authentic stories tied to every recipe.
3. Matty Matheson: A Cookbook by Matty Matheson
Matty Matheson is infamous and this book is no different. It is perfect for meat lovers and showcases some of Matty's favourite dishes along with stories about his family. We recommend grabbing a glass of wine as you flip through the pages. What we loved: he has a recipe that uses bologna.
4. American Seafood: Heritage, Culture & Cookery From Sea to Shining Sea by Barton Seaver
More of a reference guide than a recipe book, Seaver details every single fish (and other sea creatures) ever known to human kind. His rich knowledge and commitment to sustainability is at the forefront of the entire book. It will expand your horizons and challenge you to cook something different and new. What we loved: learning about new types of fish and seafood.
5. Dirty Food by Julie Van Rosendaal
Julie is a local legend who can be found sharing her recipes on CBC, the Globe and Mail or on her website. Needless to say, we were so excited to get our hands on her book. She embraces the messiness of cooking and your family will devour all of her recipes. What we loved: her approach—we are all human, we are all trying our best and sometimes that means we are going to cook cinnamon rolls that leave our kitchen a disaster but, our tummies satisfied.
6. Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
When this book was released, it was polarizing with meat lovers hating it and vegetarians/vegans loving it. It was written in close collaboration with Farm Forward a nonprofit that implements innovative strategies to promote conscientious food choices, reduce farmed animal suffering, and advance sustainable farming. What we loved: how Foer explores factory farming and the impact it has on animals, our environment and us.
7. The Art of Beef Cutting: A Meat Professional's Guide to Butchering and Merchandising by Kari Underly
This book is definitely for someone that wants to do a deeper dive into butchering and understanding meat cuts. It walks you through how to break down a carcass to the cuts that end up on our kitchen tables. What we loved: the visuals!
8. Two If By Sea: Delicious Sustainable Seafood by Barton Seaver
Another book from Barton Seaver—we really like his approach to seafood. In this book, he shares elegant dishes and goes into how to use certain spices and how to prep local seafood. What we loved: all the featured seafood that hasn’t been overfished or caught in an environmentally destructive way.
9. Calgary Eats by Gail Norton & Karen Ralph
Some of our favourite restaurants are local restaurants and this cookbook tells you a little bit about Calgary's best chefs and their dishes. The food is so good— everything is cooked with easy to find, local ingredients. What we loved: the photography and book design.
10. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
No food-related book list is complete without Anthony Bourdain. Throughout the book, Anthony shares his exhilarating, funny and wild experiences at the best restaurants and at the ones that were doomed from the start. This is the kind of book you finish in one sitting. What we loved: how raw and honest Anthony is.