The “heartbreakingly delicious”* national bestseller about a chef, her students, and the evocative lessons that food teaches about life. 

Once a month on a Monday night, eight students gather in Lillian's restaurant for a cooking class. Among them is Claire, a young woman coming to terms with her new identity as a mother; Tom, a lawyer whose life has been overturned by loss; Antonia, an Italian kitchen designer adapting to life in America; and Carl and Helen, a long-married couple whose union contains surprises the rest of the class would never suspect.

The students have come to learn the art behind Lillian's soulful dishes, but it soon becomes clear that each seeks a recipe for something beyond the kitchen. And soon they are transformed by the aromas, flavors, and textures of what they create....
Praise for The School of Essential Ingredients

“Delectable writing.”—Seattle Magazine
 
“Food Network fans will devour this first novel about a whimsical cooking school run by a gentle chef with a fierce passion for food.”—People
 
“Lyrical and descriptive.”—The Oregonian
 
“Bauermeister deftly combines romance, lyrical language and a dash of sentimentality.”—St. Petersburg Times
 
“[A] warm, satisfying exploration of food, cooking and memory…evocative.”—The Star-Ledger (NJ)
 
“The novel has that...life-is-meals feeling.”—Los Angeles Times

“In this remarkable debut, Bauermeister creates a captivating world where the pleasures and particulars of sophisticated food come to mean much more than simple epicurean indulgence.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“Exquisitely written...It’s a luscious slice of life...and you will enjoy every bite.”—*New York Times bestselling author Sarah Addison
 
“The perfect recipe for escaping from life’s stresses...luminous prose.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Kate Jacobs