The Food Lab

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The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science
The Food Lab.jpg
AuthorsJ. Kenji Lopez-Alt
Published21 September 2015 (W. W. Norton & Company)
Media typePrint, ebook
Pages960 (print edition)
Award2016 IACP Cookbook of the Year;[1] 2016 James Beard Foundation General Cooking cookbook award[2]

The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science is a 2015 cookbook written by American chef J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. The book contains close to 300 savoury American cuisine recipes.[3][4] The Food Lab expands on Lopez-Alt's "The Food Lab" column on the Serious Eats blog.[3] Lopez-Alt uses the scientific method in the cookbook to improve popular American recipes[3] and to explain the science of cooking.[5] The Food Lab charted on The New York Times Best Seller list,[6] and won the 2016 James Beard Foundation Award for the best General Cooking cookbook[2] and the 2016 IACP awards for the Cookbook of the Year and the best American cookbook.[1]

Lopez-Alt developed the cookbook over a five-year period.[4] He described the book not as a recipe book but as "a book for people who want to learn the hows and the whys of cooking".[4] The recipes in The Food Lab are arranged by the technique used to prepare them.[7] The cookbook also contains charts and experiments aimed at explaining scientific concepts like the difference between temperature and energy and the Leidenfrost effect.[7]

Emily Weinstein of The New York Times wrote that "the recipes are sophisticated in their grasp of how ingredients and techniques work" but noted that "it is Mr. López-Alt’s original, living body of work online that to many may seem like his even greater achievement".[3] Eric Vellend of The Globe and Mail wrote that "Lopez-Alt's relentless pursuit of perfection yields hundreds of unconventional kitchen tricks".[5] Silvia Killingsworth wrote in The New Yorker that The Food Lab resembles a "hybrid reference text" more than a cookbook, and that "Kenji’s appeal is that he channels the shameless geekery of hobbyists everywhere into inexpensive, everyday foods".[7] Penny Pleasance of the New York Journal of Books called The Food Lab "a seminal work that is encyclopedic in scope and can be used as a reference by even the most experienced home cooks".[8]


  1. ^ a b "IACP Cookbook Awards Winners" (PDF). International Association of Culinary Professionals. 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 June 2016. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  2. ^ a b "The 2016 Book, Broadcast and Journalism Awards: Complete Winner Recap". James Beard Foundation. 26 April 2016. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Weinstein, Emily (29 September 2015). "In 'The Food Lab,' the Science of Home Cooking". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Lopez-Alt, J. Kenji (21 September 2015). "The Food Lab: The Book Has Arrived". Serious Eats. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  5. ^ a b Vellend, Eric (15 March 2016). "J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's Food Lab studies the science behind good home cooking". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  6. ^ "Advice, How-To & Miscellaneous". The New York Times. 20 December 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  7. ^ a b c Killingsworth, Silvia (3 October 2015). "Kenji López-Alt's Obsessive Kitchen Experiments". The New Yorker. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  8. ^ Pleasance, Penny (2015). "The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science". New York Journal of Books. Retrieved 3 July 2016.

General references