Hungry for Inspiration? Here Are the Best Listens for Foodies

Whether you're looking for cooking inspiration or memoirs from your favorite chefs, these audiobooks are sure to satisfy.

Food offers so much more than just sustenance: it’s a way to connect with others, to make cherished memories, to fine-tune a skillset, and to savor and enjoy some of life’s simplest pleasures. Sharing a meal that you’ve put your heart into or gathering around a communal table offers a unique sense of warmth and togetherness that just can’t be replicated anywhere else.

For the better part of the year, many of us have been spending a little extra time in the kitchen, making new home-cooked memories. Instead of nights out at our favorite restaurants, we’re more often attempting to recreate that impeccable pasta dish at home or baking banana bread and cookies with the kids (when we’re not ordering takeout). If you’re an aspiring home chef looking for inspiration, look no further. Here are some of the best cooking audiobooks out there—from flavorful food memoirs to books about the food industry to classic cookbooks, these listens will give you the boost you need to stay fresh and inventive in the kitchen.

Kitchen Confidential

Kitchen Confidential

Anthony Bourdain’s tragic death in 2018 was an incredibly painful loss. For years, we had invited him into our living rooms, our kitchens, and our hearts, and his endlessly good-natured spirit was without peer. If you haven’t listened to his Kitchen Confidential, please do yourself a favor and download it immediately. The chef and television personality brought his renowned warmth and genuine passion for food to his game-changing memoir, sharing the moments that led to his culinary awakening, from his dishwashing gig at a rather unsavory fish shop to his star turns as a chef at high-profile eateries in Tokyo, Paris, and New York City. Bourdain’s cutting, insightful writing style is perfectly complimented by his performance—which is just as kindly, engaging, and spot-on hilarious as you’d expect. The result is an earnest love letter to the communities that form around dinner tables and restaurant kitchens across the world.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

Whether you’re first starting out in the kitchen or trying to hone some proper techniques, it’s key to master the basics. Enter Samin Nosrat’s runaway hit, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat a guide to mastering the titular four elements of good cooking. In this listen, Nosrat conducts an auditory masterclass, taking you through steps to enhance flavor and texture in order to create a meal that’s truly delicious—and capable of impressing even the most discerning diners at your next gathering. If you’re familiar with the book’s Netflix adaptation of the same name, you already know that Nosrat is a standout in her field; her delivery is friendly, warm, and conversational, and her descriptions of food and taste will leave your mouth watering. As an added bonus, a download of this listen comes with a complimentary PDF featuring gorgeous illustrations of food, a helpful guide to the flavors used in a vast array of global dishes, and a few handy, crowd-pleasing recipes.

Our Harlem

Our Harlem

Fans of foodie television may recognize Marcus Samuelsson from his appearances on Food Network’s Chopped and Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. But Samuelsson isn’t just a media personality—he’s a bona fide culinary icon, the head chef behind one of New York’s most recognizable restaurants. Established in 2010, Harlem’s Red Rooster is among the city’s best spots for comfort food, serving up innovative twists on dishes like chicken and waffles, mac and greens, and sweet potato bread pudding. In Our Harlem, Samuelsson walks listeners through this vibrant neighborhood, sharing stories of its food, its history, its culture, and the community itself. Set over the course of seven days, this audio experience features conversations between Samuelsson and collaborators ranging from The New Yorker’s Jelani Cobb to culinary historian Jessica B. Harris. Fans should also check out Samuelsson’s acclaimed self-narrated memoir, Yes, Chef.

My Life in France

My Life in France

While we’re on the topic of legendary chefs, it’d be impossible not to nod to the woman who revolutionized the way we cook and eat in the United States. Julia Child won the hearts—and stomachs—of Americans when she made her television debut in the 1963 cooking show, The French Chef. Child aimed to make more refined dishes and techniques accessible to the average viewer, all while expressing the true pleasures of a good meal and a good glass of wine. In this memoir, Child shares the experiences and education that led her to fame, beginning the moment she stepped foot off a boat docked in France. Originally from Pasadena, Child fell in love with the French lifestyle and cuisine—a passion she brought to the entirety of her career. Narrator Kimberly Farr expertly captures Child’s jubilant spirit and boundless enthusiasm, whether she’s discussing adventures in the marketplace or her adoration for her husband.

Eat a Peach

Eat a Peach

Host of podcast The David Chang Show, Netflix’s Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner and Ugly Delicious, and the recently announced Hulu show The Next Thing You’ll Eat, chef and restaurateur David Chang has certainly had a busy few years since he first opened Momofuku Noodle Bar in 2004. Chang’s style is one that’s inquisitive, innovative, and exciting, and he’s often been regarded as a “bad boy” of the culinary sphere, an outspoken chef who’s always up for rebellion. Chang is just as interested in the narrative behind food as the bite itself, which makes his new memoir Eat a Peach particularly outstanding. In this author-narrated listen, Chang shares each pitfall and success he has faced in his career, from the unexpected juggernaut that is Momofuku to his struggles with aimlessness and mental illness to his insights on the restaurant world. It’s a genuine and vulnerable ride that unearths the highs and lows of industry renown. Trust me—if you’re a self-described “foodie,” this is definitely a listen you don’t want to miss.

32 Yolks

32 Yolks

If you’re a fan of televised American cooking shows, you don’t need me to tell you that they often veer into the theatric: foul language and searing insults, cutthroat competitions, and hot-tempered head chefs. Eric Ripert, however, has long been a foil to that variety of food media: gentle, poised, and proper, the host of PBS’s Avec Eric embodies the same sense of elegance that he brings to his refined meals. In 32 Yolks, Ripert explores some of his most painful childhood memories—including the loss of his beloved father, his homelife with an abusive stepfather, and the gendered boundaries that kept him out of the kitchen—bringing to light each moment on his journey to international success. Ripert’s humble, heart-on-his-sleeve writing style will be familiar to anyone who has ever watched his show or read an interview with him. An honest-to-goodness compassionate human being and an exquisite chef, Ripert has quite the story to tell—and he tells it with incomparable grace. Award-winning actor Peter Ganim gives life to this honest, heart-rending story, crafting a listen that’s impossible to pause.

Love, Loss, and What We Ate

Love, Loss, and What We Ate

If you haven’t checked out Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi on Hulu yet, do yourself a favor and tune in. Lakshmi, a model, author, and activist who’s best known as a host and judge on the adored Top Chef, has dedicated much of her career to unearthing the fascinating cultural backgrounds of culinary phenomena. In Love, Loss, and What We Ate, Lakshmi shares why food is so central to her identity—and how food, and the ways in which we share it, is integral to creating a sense of home. This sense of belonging meant the world to Lakshmi as a child, as her family never spent a great deal of time in one place. Instead, she found a constant in her family kitchen and the meals she tasted and served along the way. A love letter to both her family history and the culinary world, Lakshmi’s memoir describes food so dynamically that you can practically taste each word. And as this listen is author-narrated, you’ll have the pleasure of hearing Lakshmi’s thoughts on legacy, family, and food (as well as a few of her own home-cooked recipes) in her own voice.

Notes from a Young Black Chef

Notes from a Young Black Chef

The global protests for racial justice have shined a light on the insidious racism ingrained in larger institutions. Among them is the culinary industry, where the overwhelming whiteness of food media and the appropriation of culturally significant dishes by white chefs are receiving widespread scrutiny. This reality of how exclusionary the world of fine dining can be to a young Black chef is just one of the threads Kwame Onwuachi unspools in his 2019 memoir. He also details his at times tumultuous upbringing: from an impoverished childhood in the Bronx spent learning his mother’s recipes, rich with Creole and Caribbean flavors, to his years in rural Nigeria with his father to the darkest moments of his adult life, which cooking would help him escape. A hungry young man with tremendous ambition, Onwuachi details some of his career milestones, including competing on Top Chef, opening (and closing) his first restaurant, launching his next venture, Kith/Kin, and being named Rising Star Chef of the Year at the 2019 James Beard Awards. Onwuachi narrates his memoir, infusing an already honest, open look at life, family, and food with an extra dash of heart. (And don’t miss the included recipes—one taste and it’s no secret why Onwuachi’s career took off.)

Always Home: A Daughter's Recipes & Stories

Always Home: A Daughter's Recipes & Stories

There’s a high probability that you’re familiar with Alice Waters, the chef and restaurateur behind Chez Panisse, the pioneering farm-to-table restaurant in Berkeley, and the author of her own memoir, Coming to My Senses. But when she wasn’t busy building a sustainable kitchen model, Waters was occupied with raising her daughter, Fanny Singer. In Always Home, Singer shares cherished family recollections and delicious recipes alike (I dare you to listen to this book without being tempted to buy all the ingredients for her fruit galette), a combination that captures the heartfelt magic of cooking alongside someone you love. Each dish is firmly rooted in a childhood memory, and these simple but delicious staples will make excellent additions to your own rotation. Singer, like her mother, has a palpable admiration for individual ingredients and flavors, making this the perfect cookbook for any aspiring chef who prefers homey, delicious flavors without all the bells and whistles. While the recipes themselves are delightful, there’s also a lovely, warm feeling that accompanies hearing Singer recount moments alongside her mother.

Blood, Bones & Butter

Blood, Bones & Butter

James Beard Award-winning chef Gabrielle Hamilton is among the industry’s biggest rule breakers. Not one for pretension, Hamilton is virtually synonymous with grit: she never attended culinary school, instead learning on the frontlines of thankless catering gigs and throwing her all into her legendary New York restaurant, Prune. Hamilton is also a masterful scribe, writing with a sense of visceral flair and bold, rich detail. Her wry, unflinchingly honest memoir Blood, Bones & Butter is not only a feast for the senses, but a look into her unconventional path from food-obsessed child to critically acclaimed restaurateur and author. Her exceptionally rendered recollections of the food that defined her youth, the innumerable kitchens she called home over the years, and the endless labor that went into opening Prune were meant to be experienced in audio, as the medium only further highlights the exquisite story Hamilton unfolds. More searing moments—like her unsatisfying, quickly failing marriage—land just the same, showcasing Hamilton’s signature off-the-beaten-path style and refusal to be deterred.

Laurie Berkner's Song and Story Kitchen

Laurie Berkner's Song and Story Kitchen

If you and your little ones have been spending more time together in the kitchen as of late, they’ll go wild for Laurie Berkner's Song and Story Kitchen. This silly little gem follows Berkner and her animal pals—including Thelonious Pig, Oscar Beebee, and ferret cousins Victor Vito and Freddie Vasco—as they explore the magical world of Juniper Fields and whip up some tasty treats along the way. It’s the perfect way to infuse a bit of joy into every mealtime as the fun, food-centric wonderland is brought to vivid life by the soundtrack of irresistible tunes by the Laurie Berkner Band. So pick out a family favorite recipe, gather up the kiddos, and get ready to host a dance party in the kitchen, courtesy of gleeful melodies like “Pajama Time!” and “We Are the Dinosaurs.”

The Golden Orchard

The Golden Orchard

If your budding foodies are slightly older than the sing-a-long crowd, don’t miss the absolutely gorgeous time-travel journey, The Golden Orchard. A great choice for kids nine and up, this listen follows Maya, a young girl who loves nothing more than cooking alongside her grandmother, learning the rich, flavorful Korean dishes that offer a glimpse into her culture and heritage. But one day, Maya finds that a single bite of her beloved Halmunee’s dishes has the power to transport her back in time to different moments in her family history. That journey soon brings her to the Golden Orchard, a garden sprouting with memories. An enchanting Audible Original brimming with depth, this listen will impress on young listeners the true significance of food as a symbol of shared history, culture, and family.

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