Having been a Top Chef fan since the first season I am always on the lookout for cookbooks written by the former contestants, especially the winners. Stephanie Izard was the Season four winner. Reading her cookbook is what I imagine sitting down in her kitchen while she prepares dinner must be like. Each recipe contains an introduction describing the dish and how it came to be. Some introductions include family stories while others focus on flavor profiles and the ins and outs of why some flavors work together and some don’t. Set up in fairly standard chapters some recipes include Featured Ingredients with more detailed information about preparation and usage. Cooking tips are scattered throughout the book but my personal favorite is the drink tips. Just about every recipe is paired with a beverage. Rather than just listing the perfect wine, beer or ale, she takes the time to explain why Belgian Pale Ales are the perfect complement to Juniper Grilled Sea Bass. It is because there is just enough spice in the Pale Ale to complement the floral fennel and it won’t overpower the Sea Bass. The recipes vary in degree of difficulty from the very simple composed salads to the more complex Osso Buco. Not every recipe has a photograph which is usually a turnoff for me, I want to see the finished product but what photographs there are, are simply stunning. A great choice for both a cookbook to browse through and a cookbook that is destined to be home to some of your new favorite dishes.