This book changed chef Jimmy Bannos Jr.'s life. 

F&W Editors
October 20, 2014

Getting a chef to pick a favorite cookbook is like asking a parent to choose her most-loved child. But F&W pressed great cooks around the country to reveal their top picks of all-time.

The Chef: Jimmy Bannos Jr.

The Book: The Babbo Cookbook, by Mario Batali (2002)

“I had this book with me when I was in Italy, before I worked for Mario Batali at Del Posto,” says Bannos. “I was there for like 6 months. I was 20 years old. I didn’t know shit. I read his book cover-to-cover, page-by-page. That’s when I knew, ‘I gotta work for this guy.’ I guess you could say it changed my life.”

Related: 33 Great Cookbook Gifts
12 Fantastic Vegetable Cookbooks
19 Fast Recipes from Mario Batali

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