The best cookbooks of 2020

Spaghetti self-care, recipes and stories from a country left behind, and vegetarian dishes with Asian flavours. These are our favourite culinary tomes of the year.
John Paul Urizar

Whether for your own holiday reading or to gift to the food-enthusiast in your life, a good cookbook never goes astray. From spaghetti self-care, recipes and stories from a country left behind, and a love letter to Asian flavours via vegetarian dishes, these are our favourite cookbooks and culinary tomes of 2020.

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PARWANA by Durkhanai Ayubi

(Murdoch Books, $45)

Since 2009, the Ayubi family has been sharing the colourful culinary traditions of Afghanistan at their popular Adelaide restaurant Parwana. Part cookbook, part family chronicle, in her book writer Durkhanai Ayubi shares her family’s recipes and stories, giving readers a taste of the homeland they left behind.

Watch Farida Ayubi make bolani, an Afghan stuffed flatbread

ALWAYS ADD LEMON by Danielle Alvarez

(Hardie Grant, $50)

The Fred’s head chef believes a touch of lemon can transform any dish. Raised in a family that lived to eat, her colourful recipes are both delicious and approachable.

COMIDA MEXICANA by Rosa Cienfuegos

(Smith Street Books, $45)

The pages of Cienfuegos’ first cookbook come alive with the vibrant energy and colour of Mexican food. Inspired by different regions from across the country, recipes span tacos and tortas to sweets and tamales – the very leaf-wrapped packages that have put her Sydney tamaleria on the map.

TO ASIA, WITH LOVE by Hetty McKinnon

(Pan Macmillan, $39.99)

Cook and author Hetty McKinnon showcases the humble, soul-enriching flavours of her childhood with this collection of vegetarian and vegan Asian-inspired dishes.

Eat California by Vivian Lui (Smith Street Books, $49.99) and Saturday Night Pasta by Elizabeth Hewson (Pan Macmillan, $36.99)

(Photo: John Paul Urizar)


(Smith Street Books, $49.99)

Light, bright and refreshing, this cookbook from recipe writer and food stylist Vivian Lui celebrates the abundance of America’s west coast.

SATURDAY NIGHT PASTA by Elizabeth Hewson

(Pan Macmillan, $36.99)

Elizabeth Hewson first started making pasta as a form of self-care, developing a regular Saturday night ritual to calm her anxiety. In her cookbook, the Sydney-based cook shares her story, along with 40 simple, satisfying recipes.

SIMPLY by Sabrina Ghayour

(Hachette, $39.99)

The British chef’s fifth cookbook is a culinary ode to her Persian heritage. The self-taught home cook delivers recipes that are fun and flavour-packed and can be made any day of the week.

BEATRIX BAKES by Natalie Paull

(Hardie Grant, $45)

Melbourne’s Beatrix Bakery is renowned for its whimsical cakes and creations. Here, owner Natalie Paull reveals the recipes behind her best-loved treats, including smoky-salty chocolate chip cookies and custard crumble pies.


(Murdoch Books, $49.99)

Responsible for transforming the humble café into destination dining, Bill Granger helped introduce Australian café culture to the world. In this book, he continues the trend, celebrating all-day dining.


(Bloomsbury, $49.99)

Sunday Times columnist Skye McAlpine brings a “sharing is caring” philosophy to her kitchen. The recipes in these pages are bountiful and hearty, made to share at any occasion, for two or 20.

AFRICOLA by Duncan Welgemoed

(Murdoch Books, $49.99)

Welgemoed’s Adelaide restaurant, Africola, is renowned for its fiery flavours and bustling atmosphere. In his début cookbook, the gregarious South African-born chef encapsulates the restaurant’s energy through an eclectic spread of recipes.

Clockwise from left: Comida Mexicana by Rosa Cienfuegos (Smith Street Books, $45), Always Add Lemon by Danielle Alvarez (Hardie Grant, $50), To Asia, With Love by Hetty McKinnon (Pan Macmillan, $39.99), Parwana by Durkhanai Ayubi (Murdoch Books, $45), Australian Food by Bill Granger (Murdoch Books, $49.99), Beatrix Bakes by Natalie Paull (Hardie Grant, $45), Africola by Duncan Welgemoed (Murdoch Books, $49.99), A Table for Friends by Skye McAlpine (Bloomsbury, $49.99), Simply by Sabrina Ghayour (Hachette, $39.99)

(Photo: John Paul Urizar)

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