The Professional Chef is the 8th edition of a book produced by the Culinary Institute of America. It feels like the ultimate cooking school textbook. At well over 1000 pages it is definitely the biggest cookbook in my collection. While intended for the "culinary professional", there is a lot that a non-professional will learn from it too.
Like The Cook's Book, it has plenty of photographs but no celebrity chef factor. Most recipes serve 10 people, but some serve 20. Unless you are going to work in a restaurant or take on a catering job, this is less a book to cook from, than to reference. The sections on "Fabricating Meats, Poultry, and Fish" are going to be great learn from if you haven't take classes in butchering. I appreciate the listing of types of ingredients like grains and their common culinary uses. I also like the page of Standard Vegetable Cuts so you can see the difference between fine brunoise and large dice, and everything in between.
Included in the book are sections of different cuisines of the world which includes common ingredients and essays on all kinds of topics such as food safety, nutrition and discussions about specific ingredients and techniques. As Anthony Bourdain says "This is The Mothership for recipes and basic culinary techniques. Anyone and everyone serious about food an cooking should have this one in their kitchen."
While upgraded and expanded from previous editions, it still focuses more on standard techniques than cutting edge ones. No question, it is a fantastic resource. You can take a peek inside the book here.
If you are looking to be inspired with creations from master chefs such as foams and fruit chips, consider checking out The Cook's Book reviewed today on Cooking with Amy.