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For those who want to know everything.

8 Industry Books You Need

My favorite restaurant industry books

There are a lot of great books to help you learn about wine, food and hospitality, but which are the best?

Here is a list of my go to books.

1.  Wine For Dummies

If at any point you are looking for a book to learn about wine, especially from an “I know nothing” angle, this is the book for you.

Many books are so jammed with information that the organization aspect can be lacking, or worse the author assumes you know enough about the subject and they talk above your comprehension level.  Both scenarios are annoying.

This book gives excellent and important information that is built slowly starting right from the first page.

The authors don’t treat you like a dummy, (but they kind of treat you like a dummy)…in a good way.

Use “Wine For Dummies” if

  • Your wine knowledge is low to moderate.
  • Your want to feel like you have learned important information after minimal reading investment.
  • You want very organized content.

2. What to Drink with What You Eat

I ♥ this book!

We used to have it in the server station at the last restaurant I worked at.  That restaurant had a kick-ass wine list so people would ask us all the time “What should I drink if I order XYZ?” This book told us.  (Although I would just say “let me think about it a second,” and then I would go to the server station, give this book a peak and voila!…I’d have an answer!

What’s great about this book is you can search in two convenient ways:

  • You can look at specific wine types and find foods that pair well.
  • You can look up exact foods to find the perfect wine pairing.

I love this book and I bet you would too.

Use this book
  • if you need assistance in food and wine pairing
  • to sell a lot of wine
  • when you are in a pairing rut
  • for home or work use
  • if you are learning about wine or wine pairings

3. The Deluxe Food Lover’s Companion (Deluxe Edition)

If you work in any restaurant where the menu changes, the chef’s are creative and food knowledge importance is high, I suggest the Food Lover’s Companion.

Sometimes Chef is crabby and you don’t want to ask him a question about a food term.  In those cases, just whip this puppy out and learn a food thing or two.

For those of you dedicated to learning about wine, there is also the New Wine Lover’s Companion.  It’s pretty helpful as well.

Use this book if you…
  • have a progressive menu
  • are new to culinary terms
  • are interested in cuisine
  • get asked a lot of questions about food by your guests

 4.  The Practical Guide to Napkins and Napkin Folding

“The Practical Guide To Napkin And Napkin Folding” is the full name of this cool book.

Whether you want to come up napkin folds for fathers day, Easter or are just looking for unique folds to convey the personality of your restaurant, this is a pretty nifty book.

Large color pages with easy to follow instructions are why I recommend this book.  And you can find it super cheap on Amazon…like, stupid cheap.

Use this book when…
  • a holiday is near, make Easter Bunnies or flowers
  • you need inspirational design ideas
  • you a fresh dining room look is needed
  • hosting a dinner party at home

5. Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business

Hospitality!  I love it and I bet you love it too.   You know else who loves it?  Danny Meyer.

Danny Meyer is the owner of some of the most respected restaurants in New York.  He believes whole heartily in hospitality and talks about it in this book.  If you are a restaurant-hospitality lover, you’ll appreciate his views and standards.

6.  My Server Reference Sheets

Is it a book?  Well no, but it could be for all the information that is jammed in it.

I have been in the industry long enough to know that there are times when you actually don’t have  the time to dig through a book, track down a Chef, Bartender, Sommelier, Manager or Lead Server just to ask them a question.

Especially a question that they might respond with “You should know this”.

I know it is better to have the answers with you.  In your server book.

7.  The Drunken Botanist

Over the three months of full time learning, breaking down and turning information into a quiz course format, I HAD TO LEARN SO MUCH ABOUT ALCOHOL.  This is a book that I found and absolutely love.

This is not a book about spirits so much as it is a book about what makes spirits so special.  It’s a great book for bartenders and servers.

The Drunken Botanist will make you see your liquor store and your farmers market with the same appreciation and awe.


Other Books

StrengthsFinder 2.0

So, apparently there is an online quiz that goes with this book.  You take it and it assess your strengths. I love quizzes and I love learning about my strenghts.  This could be a very useful and fun book!


How could I not plug the cookbooks of the restaurants I work for and have worked for?  Working at these restaurants has been a treat.  I owe my culinary knowledge to Bluestem and my ideas of: hospitality, team service potential, wine knowledge and high self expectations to Bluestar.

Bluestem Cookbook


With beautiful photos by Bonjwing Lee of the culinary treats of Colby and Megan Garrelts, this cookbook would be a cherished addition to any aspiring or advanced home cook.  It would make a perfect gift because they will personalize and autograph it!


Bluestar Cookbook


Oh Bluestar, how I think fondly of you!

This cookbook features approachable recipes (like the pesto, yum!) and features a picture of the kick-ass staff from 8 years ago.

Jennifer, iamWaitress on Google+!

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Website: http://iamWaitress.com
Email: jennifer@iamWaitress.com