King of the Kitchen

Author: Bru Baker

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Rating: 3 stars

Buy Links: DSP and Amazon

Type: Novel

Received from Publisher

 

Blurb: Rising kitchen talents Beck Douglas and Duncan Walters have been on the foodie paparazzi radar for years, since their status as heirs to two of the biggest celebrity chef empires around makes them culinary royalty. Beck is known for his charm and traditional food as cohost of his uncle’s popular TV cooking show, while Duncan earned himself a reputation as a culinary bad boy, both for his refusal to work in his father’s restaurants and his avant-garde approach to cooking.

They’re also heirs to a food rivalry that could put the Hatfields and McCoys to shame, and when they’re photographed in the middle of a heated argument, the press goes wild with speculation. Damage control ensues, with a fake friendship engineered by PR cronies that leaves both of them secretly pining for more.

Beck chafes under his uncle’s micromanagement, and Duncan’s relationship with his homophobic father becomes even more tenuous when Beck and Duncan start getting closer. It’s hard to hide their chemistry on national television when Duncan joins Beck’s cooking show, but they won’t be able to take their relationship—or their careers—to the next level without breaking a few eggs.

 

Review: Beck Douglas and Duncan Walters do not make a very good first impression with each other. When life brings them back together years later they do not make a very good second impression with each other. Unfortunately, this second bad impression is much more public. Despite the fact their respective mentors have been locked in a famous feud for decades, everyones’ publicists feel convincing the media and the public they are not feuding would be best for these young, rising star chefs. Beck and Duncan quickly realize neither man is what he first appeared to be. Nor secondly appeared to be. As events conspire to get them closer and closer together Beck and Duncan realize they don’t mind that one bit. When another public relations nightmare unfolds in their lap courtesy of Duncan’s father both men need to decide just what they’re doing with each other and where they want it to go.

This premise did not feel organic to me. Sorry, I wasn’t going for a food pun. I don’t get why they felt they needed to do any damage control in the first place. It was plausible enough, but the culinary world is full of feuds and foodies eat them up. In a crowded culinary landscape a feud can provide attention. This just didn’t work for me. I found that to be frustrating, as I liked both Beck and Duncan. I also liked their relationship and its growth.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t only the premise that felt off, to me. Despite liking the characters I found myself questioning several things over the course of the book. Thankfully, the food didn’t bug me. I’m always drawn to books with cooking as it’s a hobby of mine, but because it’s a hobby of mine I find myself frequently annoyed with bad representations of food. The food here wasn’t bad by any stretch. Seriously, after some of the things I’ve read in books about chefs I’m calling that a win.

This book isn’t bad, but the things I felt to be plot holes did detract from Beck and Duncan and their relationship.

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