The best cookbooks of 2020

Every year our staff vote for their favourite books and music of the past 12 months. Here are our top five cookbooks of the year, voted for by Readings’ staff, and displayed in no particular order.

(You can find all our best picks for books and music here.)

A Year of Simple Family Food by Julia Busuttil Nishimura

A Year of Simple Family Food is a beautiful and inspiring offering from much-adored Melbourne cook Julia Busuttil Nishimura whose philosophy can be summed up in three words: simple, seasonal and generous. With recipes arranged by season and covering all times of the day, this is a cookbook attuned to the rhythms of our lives and one deliciously informed by a varied range of culinary influences.

Beatrix Bakes by Natalie Paull

Natalie Paull is the owner and chef behind Melbourne’s iconic Beatrix cafe and cake shop and in this gorgeously packaged cookbook, demonstrates how mere mortals can create her delectable baked treats from the comfort of their own kitchen. Detailed instructions, sweet illustrations and infographics, clever suggestions for how to adapt each recipe and well-timed encouraging notes of support, Beatrix Bakes is set to become an Australian classic.

Ottolenghi FLAVOUR by Yotam Ottolenghi & Ixta Belfrage

The legendary Yotam Ottolenghi teams up with recipe developer and test kitchen chef Ixta Belfrage for this exciting collection of new flavour combinations celebrating the humble vegetable. Cleverly divided into three sections (Process, Pairing and Produce), Ottolenghi FLAVOUR includes more than 100 innovative recipes as well some lovely practical titbits, such as a list of oft-used ingredients and an index of sauces.

To Asia, with Love by Hetty McKinnon

To Asia, with Love is a charming, breezy and meat-free love letter to Asian home cooking. Hetty McKinnon shares recipes that range from the traditional, to her own uniquely modern interpretations, and tips on how to set up your own Asian pantry at home. This is a warm and accessible cookbook: several recipes are vegan and gluten-free, and most include a list of possible substitutes for the ingredients.

Always Add Lemon by Danielle Alvarez

Young Cuban-American chef Danielle Alvarez took the Aussie food world by storm when she started whipping up dishes at Sydney’s iconic Fred’s restaurant. Always Add Lemon is her first recipe collection and it’s an absolute knock-out, offering a varied range of dishes from the basics through to more adventurous kitchen projects. This is a cookbook filled with passion and enthusiasm, and it’s guaranteed to inspire at home.