The Latin American Cookbook Review

The Latin American Cookbook Review
By The Cooking World, Editorial Staff
February 7, 2022

The Latin American Cookbook

This month we'll do something different and dedicate all our cookbook reviews to one of our oldest partners - Phaidon Press.

In this first review of the month, we share our thoughts on The Latin American Cookbook, the newest cookbook from Virgilio Martinez.

The Latin American Cookbook documents the vibrant food and culture of one of earth's most extraordinary geographical regions. Often referred to as the "world's pantry," the lands and coasts of Latin America yield an almost endless larder of ingredients and have given rise to globally popular dishes such as arepas, empanadas, tamales, and much more.

Following years of research, Virgilio - celebrated chef at Peru's Central and World's 50 Best regular - guides you on how to make everything from Goat Stew and Chilean Sandwich Cookies to Green Mango Salad and beverages like Fermented Corn Juice.

The incredible range of cuisines from Mexico's tropical coasts to the icy islands at the foot of South America are documented comprehensively in this collection, bringing to life the vibrancy of Latin America and its myriad influences - Indigenous, European, Asian, and beyond.

The Latin American Cookbook

A Journey Through Latin America

The Latin American Cookbook follows the highly successful Phaidon's series of books devoted to a specific culinary region of the world.

This series started in 2015 with the bestseller The Nordic Cookbook, and over the years, more books have been added to this collection like The Turkish Cookbook or The Irish Cookbook.

Virgilio consulted with over 60 sources for making The Latin American Cookbook, including village elders, home cooks, anthropologists, and old-world cookbooks.

Peruvian food photographer Jimena Agois documented 165 of the recipes in the book, styled with regional dishware and linens, and there are additional evocative images of the landscape and environs taken by the volume's co-author, Nicholas Gill.

The Latin American Cookbook span 22 countries, featuring 600 iconic, specialty, and locally distinctive home cooking recipes, showcasing the rich diversity of its peoples and food cultures.

Like the previous books, this one features a wealth of narrative, including a beautiful introduction by the author on the culture of the region's food.

The Latin American Cookbook
Chilean Meat Empanadas. Photography by Jimena Agois (p. 45)

A Snapshot of Latin American Food

You'll get a snapshot of Latin American food by going through this book. You'll learn about the meals local people serve at home, the food made in the streets and their markets.

Each recipe in this book is woven from complex layers that tell a story of its history.

While there are likely many recipes you have heard of, like Brazilian Cheese Rolls and Arepas, there are also a few ones that might surprise you.

For us, the selection of recipes, which are relatively simple to execute, can transport anyone to each destination covered in the book and encourage everyone to learn more about the remarkable stories behind them.

The instructions in the recipes are not strict rules, and as Virgilio says in the book, "Don't take every direction so seriously. Adapt each recipe to your own personal time and place. There's no right or wrong here."

This approach to the recipes makes the book more accessible to everyone and captures the essence of Latin American Food known for being spontaneous.

The Latin American Cookbook
Street Cart Ceviche. Photography by Jimena Agois (p. 235)

Final Thoughts

Putting together a book that covers a geography this extensive with any sort of geographic and cultural balance is no small task. But Virgilio and his team have done an incredible job capturing Latin Amerian Food's diversity.

The Latin American Cookbook is another fabulous cookbook from a series that showcases the world's most exciting and delicious gastronomies.


‍The Latin American Cookbook manages to capture the vibrant food and culture of one of the earth's most extraordinary geographical regions.









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