There has never been a more vibrant time to eat in Edmonton. Long gone are the days of dated Formica cafés when waitresses would swat flies in between serving steaming bowls of chicken noodle soup and ketchup flavoured steak.
For the past 20 years, Edmonton's food scene has undergone a palate-pleasing awakening. Dynamic young chefs eager to challenge the rules, and globally minded immigrants arriving with boatloads of fresh ideas and culinary traditions have revamped customary eating habits.
Today diversity, flavour and distinction are hallmarks of Edmonton's multi-cultural restaurants that have mushroomed across the city.
From the editors of Figure.1 Publishing, Edmonton Cooks is a wonderful treat that reflects the metropolis' mixture and has made the listed restaurants enjoyable destination sites.
In this 255-page hardcover guide of both trendy and small undiscovered gems, writers Tina Faiz and Leanne Brown look at dishes that range from comfort food to haute cuisine.
The more than 70 chef-tested scrumptious recipes span the globe from Ethiopia to China, Philippines to Portugal, India to Italy.
Not only are chefs eager to promote their restaurant, but they generously share outstanding recipes for signature dishes, and suggest tips and tricks of the trade.
Some recipes seem a bit intimidating at first glance, however at second reading they are quite accessible. In addition Faiz and Brown use their smarts and savvy to compile a home-style book for both novice and expert.
Starting at the first page is not necessary. Each food provider, whether it's butcher, restaurant, mobile eatery, bakeshop or confectionary, has his or her own chapter.
Each chapter is more than a compilation of recipes. It's an introduction to the chefs' personalities, their restaurants' history and their driving passions in the culinary field.
Edmonton Cooks challenges the reader to mix and match recipes from the 38 contributing restaurants.
For an appetizer check out Bar Brico's zucchini Carpaccio or Sofra's Turkish roasted red pepper dip.
Planning a dinner party in the future and need a new main entrée? Flip through Vivo's anatra (duck) with sorrel pesto, Shanghai's 456's Chinese eggplant with spicy garlic, Nongbu's Korean seafood pa-jeon, or Cibo Bistro's pasta dish, Orechietta with rabbit sausage.
One of the big local trends at the moment is Spanish-Mexican cuisine. Just reading the easy-to-replicate recipes of Tres Carnales Mexican tacos and Tzin's Chorizo and piri piri shrimp paella simply tantalizes the taste buds.
Let's not forget desserts, the most anticipated dish in a meal. Three of the more tempting are Café Bicylette's lemon tart, Duchess Bakery's key lime tart and Jacek Chocolate Couture's classic dark truffles.
Navigating the profusion of information is made easy with a table of contents at the front that lists restaurants in alphabetical order, and a back index that itemizes recipes under ingredients.
There is also a very handy conversion chart from imperial to metric that unfortunately not all cookbooks contain.
With all the tools of the trade at your disposal, Edmonton Cooks provides a wonderful opportunity to show off your gastronomic artistry. And if life gets too busy or you are too tired to cook, it's an excellent pointer to some superb eats.