Sage Advice from The Chef Says

Bite-sized words of wisdom from the industry's best cooks


A continuation in a “Words of Wisdom” series that has already delivered the compelling “The Designer Says” and “The Filmmaker Says,” Princeton Architectural Press is now offering insight from within one of the most-consumed but perhaps least considered arts: cooking. “The Chef Says” bundles quotations from 150 of the world’s best—from rising stars, award winners and even a Greek playwright. Compiled and edited by Nach Waxman and Matt Sartwell, the owners of NYC’s acclaimed Kitchen Arts & Letters bookstore, visionary statements are paired opposite staunch opinions and illuminating quips. The book appeals to anyone who’s ever worked in a kitchen, appreciates a fine meal or understands that at its very core, cooking is a highly refined art. With urgency and opposition as the through-lines, each page evokes the sensation of wisdom hewn from the high-adrenaline environment of a bustling kitchen for an altogether beautiful collection of compelling food and drink sentiments.


The conscious variation in quotations offers a wide array of thought, humor and motivation across all 160 pages, which are marked with different fonts to further illustrate the message within. “I learned to cook in order to get away from recipes,” explains celebrated chef Tom Colicchio. Whereas star chef Joyce Goldstein feels ardently the other way; “As a recipe addict, I can never have enough.” And the clever quotation, “Ham isn’t what it used to be,” hails from James Beard—a simple statement that’s worth noting and even triggers a bit of a smile. But the incredibly intelligent insight from the James Beard award-winning chef of The Spotted Pig, April Bloomfield, provides an entire other level of deeper value. “A salad with too many walnuts or a sauce with too many capers is like a Sunday with too many free hours—you stop appreciating the pleasure they provide. I think about that when I cook. Put just enough sweet cubes of carrots in a soup, and you won’t have to search too hard to find one, but when you do, it’ll still give you a little thrill.”

“The Chef Says” is available for pre-order onAmazon for $13.

Images by Cool Hunting