Top Cookbooks By Philadelphia Authors

July 19, 2014 8:00 AM

Co-owner Linda Brown aboard the Brown Betty Dessert Boutique tricycle. Credit: Linda Brown)

When it comes to chow, Philadelphia’s culinary identity is much more than just cheesesteaks, soft pretzels and water ice. Some of the most amazing restaurants in the country – and the creative chefs behind them – are right here in the City of Brotherly Love. Many of Philly’s culinary geniuses have put to paper the secrets of their success. We’ve pulled together a list of the top cookbooks written by Philadelphia authors that should definitely be added to your kitchen arsenal.

“The Brown Betty Cookbook: Modern Vintage Desserts and Stories from Philadelphia’s Best Bakery”
by Norrinda Brown Hayat and Linda Hinton Brown
Available at

Named after the authors’ mother/grandmother, Brown Betty Dessert Boutique has been a staple in Philadelphia’s pastry scene since 2004. Betty’s descendants decided to share some of her most treasured recipes in a cookbook that contains scores of make-at-home treats that your sweet tooth already knows and loves from the bakery. Not only are secret recipes divulged, but the personal stories behind the unique treat names are disclosed. So bake up Dot’s First Love (a chocolate cheesecake to die for) and Alice’s Two-Step (a heavenly almond pound cake with caramel buttercream) while enjoying the cherry-on-top folklore that definitely adds to the flavor of these phenomenal baked goods.

Related: Top Chocolate Cake In Philadelphia

“Fast Fresh + Simple”
by Hope Cohen
Available at

Hope Cohen, a Bryn Mawr single mom, chef and Comcast cooking show host, has a busy life. Preparing meals that are both fast and healthy, yet sophisticated and savory, was her aim in writing “Fast Fresh + Simple.” Cohen came up with more than 100 scrumptious recipes equally fitting for weekend entertaining or everyday meals with the kids. Short, fresh ingredient lists serve up everything from delicious South Philly-style meatballs to Moroccan-spiced couscous salad. Oh, and the sandwiches, desserts and cocktails are fantastic, too!

“Philadelphia Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes from the City of Brotherly Love”
by April White and photos by Jason Varney
Available at

If you’re searching for the one book that spills the culinary secrets of more than 50 of Philly’s legendary eateries, then “Philadelphia Chef’s Table” is the book for you. Who needs to wait a month for a reservation at hot restaurants like Garces, Morimoto, Barbuzzo and Vetri when April White, a former Philadelphia Magazine restaurant reviewer, offers up mouth-watering versions to prepare at home? Beginners can cook up Oyster House’s traditional stew while the more experienced might try Alma De Cuba’s empanada de verde with onion confit and artichoke escabeche. Wow!

“Vedge: 100 Plates Large and Small That Redefine Vegetable Cooking”
by Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby
Available at

You don’t have to be vegan to love vegetables, as Philly diners who frequent Vedge, a cutting-edge, meat-free restaurant in Philly’s historic Tiger Building, know well. Now you can cook up 100 delicious meatless recipes at home that will satisfy your every veggie craving. Vedge chef-proprietors Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby took some time away from their popular restaurant to share easy-to-prepare dishes such as eggplant braciole, saffron cauliflower soup and summer corn with green chili cream. So break out the vegetable peeler and get ready for some tasty and nutritious nosh.

“White Dog Cafe Cookbook: Multicultural Recipes And Tales Of Adventure From Philadelphia’s Revolutionary Restaurant”
by Judy Wicks, Kevin von Klause, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Mardee Haidin Regan
Available at

Social activist Judy Wicks founded the award-winning White Dog Cafe in 1983. Fifteen years later, she and business partner Chef Kevin von Klause published their long-awaited cookbook filled with more than 250 contemporary American recipes. If you’re looking for great color photographs, you won’t find it here. Instead, the extraordinary book features a flavorful blending of wholesome dishes created with fresh, environmentally sustainable ingredients and engaging stories about the people that have made White Dog Cafe so successful for so many years.

Related: Top Vegan Restaurants In Philadelphia

Susan DeFeo has been a professional writer since 1997. She served as a community events columnist for New Jersey’s “Cape May County Herald” for more than a decade. A writer for numerous online publications, Susan has covered health, fitness, beauty and travel, all subjects that are near and dear to her as a married mother of seven children. Her work can be found at

Watch & Listen LIVE