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5 Books That Catering Professionals Need on Their Radar

As catering pros, we’re always in the market to brush up on industry knowledge and educate ourselves on steps to take toward elevating our business. Not only are industry books perfect for unwinding and taking a break from your day-to-day, but they’ll also help you to become well-seasoned experts (no pun intended!) in your field. We took the time to curate our favorite, must-read books to add to your reading list, regardless of experience.

Hot Box: Inside Catering, The Food World’s Riskiest Business
By Matt & Ted Lee

Until you’ve worked in a catering environment or kitchen, it’s natural to think that it’s all about out-of-the-box dishes and creatively crafted menus — in reality, it’s much different on the other side of the coin. Hotbox reveals the secret side of the industry and what the inner workings are really like behind the client experience.

Those in the food & beverage world will find this read extremely relatable and humorous at times; a wonderful read in between a packed event schedule for some comic relief. We also recommend this for anyone outside the field with a hunger for an insider’s look.

By Michael Pollan

Pollan became well-known for his books In Defense of Food and The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and this book about the food industry’s evolution and history is a must-have. Cooked gives us a look into the backstory behind many of the culinary traditions that we hold today.

Pollan explores the four elements of fire, water, air, and earth to understand the elemental, back-to-basics way of cooking food and how we can collectively eat healthier, live more sustainably, and better enjoy the meals we create.

The Cooked docu-series on Netflix, starring Pollan himself, also explores this mentality. This is a great follow-up for anyone that can’t get enough!

Burgers, Bowls and Jars: Season by Season
By Chef Eric Levine

This mouth-watering cookbook from Chef Eric Levine showcases recipes that wow in any season and any atmosphere. Some of you may recognize Levine as The Food Network’s Chopped Champion, and his experience and accolades speak for themselves.

With this book, Levine shows us everything from aesthetically pleasing photography to display ideas and tips that will take your dishes to the next level. Additionally, a portion of the book’s profits go to Family Reach, a nonprofit organization that helps with everyday expenses for families dealing with cancer.

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
By Anthony Bourdain

This tell-all by the great Anthony Bourdain is a no-brainer for those that want an intimate (at times, hysterical) look at some of the world’s wildest culinary secrets and experiences at the hand of the late chef himself. If you’re a professional in the food & beverage realm that thinks you’ve seen it all, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly is the read to prove you wrong again and again with some delicious tales.

American Wasteland (How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food)
By Jonathan Bloom

We’re very conscious of the growing food waste problem in the food and beverage industry, and it’s important to us that we promote intentional usage of ingredients with minimal waste. This is an unfortunate issue that affects those beyond the scope of the catering world, and American Wasteland will make you reevaluate your grocery habits, both in your home and in your business.

Bloom brings in experts from across the industry, like famed chef Alice Waters and notable food psychologist Brian Wansink, to dig into the reasons behind why we are so prone to wasting food in the United States. They go further to look at real ways to cut down on waste and save on costs for the long haul.

This topic can often feel discouraging, but furthering your education and understanding that every bit (whether in your home or in your business) can contribute to the larger, long-term impact on waste.

As a new industry pro or a catering veteran, these reads will open your mind to innovative ideas, business practices, and insider tips.


Clint Elkins is the VP of Sales at SB Value, a group purchasing program designed to reduce catering, kitchen and food-service costs by leveraging the collective buying power of thousands of companies.

2 Replies to “5 Books That Catering Professionals Need on Their Radar”

  1. Amazing book checklist. I’ll put this checklist in a bucket and try to read it in the near future.
    “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly”
    By Anthony Bourdain
    Thanks for sharing such an amazing checklist.

  2. Patti Shock says:

    Search ‘Patti Shock’ on Amazon.com for my books on catering.

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