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Not Just Spices on His Shelves

July 2012

The celebrity chef José Andrés, barefoot and in a T-shirt and chinos, walked into the dining room of his home here, where part of his vast collection of books about food and cooking was strewn over a round table. Rare first editions lay about with Japanese comic books.

Each volume said something about the breadth of his collection and the history lessons the books have taught him while enriching his cooking skills.

“Books, for me, this is a way of learning,” Mr. Andrés, 43, said as he circled the table. “This is my college education. The history of cooking is my passion, and cooking is my passion.”

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