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Not sure which new cookbooks are worth investing in this year? Take the guesswork out of your decision and follow along with food52's Tournament of Cookbooks. The competition -- run by this new home-cooking Web site's founders (former New York Times food editor Amanda Hesser and food writer Merrill Stubbs) -- pits 16 of this year's best books against each other, to be cooked from and judged by 17 venerable chefs and food writers.
Tournament rounds will play out over the course of 4 weeks, with a decision announced every weekday beginning Wednesday. For the first challenge in the bracket, "My New Orleans," by John Besh was bested by "Real Cajun," by Donald Link, as judged by Daniel Patteron. The winning book will take home the first Piglet trophy and be feted at the Astor Center in New York City on Nov. 9, 2009.
After the jump, see list of the cookbooks and judges in play. ...
The competing cookbooks:
"Ratio" by Michael Ruhlman
"Lobel's Meat Bible" by Stanley, Evan, Mark and David Lobel
"Seven Fires" by Francis Mallmann
"Serious Barbecue" by Adam Perry Lang
"Canal House Cooking" by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton
"Salt to Taste" by Marco Canora
"The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook" by Michelle and Phillip Wojtowicz, and Michael Gilson
"Ad Hoc at Home" by Thomas Keller
"The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern" by Matt Lee and Ted Lee
"Momofuku" by David Chang and Peter Meehan
"My New Orleans" by John Besh
"Real Cajun" by Donald Link and Paula Disbrowe
"I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti" by Giulia Melucci
"The Sweet Life in Paris" by David Lebovitz
"Well-Preserved" by Eugenia Bone
"BabyCakes" by Erin McKenna
Grant Achatz, chef at Alinea, Chicago
Dan Barber, chef at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Potantico Hills, N.Y.
Elise Bauer, founder of Simply Recipes
Nora Ephron, director of "Julie & Julia"
Gabrielle Hamilton, chef at Prune, New York
David Kamp, author of "The United States of Arugula"
Ben Leventhal, founder of Eater
Ed Levine, founder of Serious Eats
Harold McGee, author of "On Food and Cooking"
Gwyneth Paltrow, actress and founder of GOOP
Grace Parisi, editor at Food & Wine
Daniel Patterson, chef at Coi, San Francisco
Gail Simmons, special projects for Food & Wine and judge on "Top Chef"
Jennifer Steinhauer, LA bureau chief at the New York Times
Kim Sunee, author of "Trail of Crumbs"
Heidi Swanson, founder of 101Cookbooks
Helen Rosner, editor at Eat Me Daily
- Lisa Schweitzer