My Mom-she's not really a Chef but I learned how to cook from her and she's about the best Chef I know!
My favorite cookbooks:
Roseto Cuisine Cookbook written by Ann Marie Ruggiero it is an Italian cookbook based on recipes from the area I grew up.
The Slate Belt Sampler also written by Ann Marie Ruggiero it contains recipes from other ethnicities of the slatebelt as well as some italian recipes.
The Accidental Vegetarian I like the authors cooking style, its very similar to mine.