Ahead of the curve, Harry's older brothers opened Winesap a decade ago to serve mainstream gourmet food. Taciturn Leo has years of experience in the industry and handsome Britt offers excellent taste and PR finesse. Harry is an innovative chef, but he can't do this on his own. Restless and energetic, he has a track record of jumping ship for new endeavors. His brothers eye him warily. Harry could be a culinary genius or a ticking time bomb. Romance adds further complications.
Wildgen's previous two novels gave a shout out to eating local, but Bread & Butter puts the restaurant business on center stage. We learn about the tension between back room kitchen staff and front room servers and the precarious orchestration of the cooking line. In this world, limp vegetables are tragic and a broken dishwasher is high drama. The plot is driven by "quotidian details," but it moves at a good pace.
The biggest problem with this book is it makes you hungry:
"...a flawless napoleon of crackling pastry layered with coconut and kaffir lime custard. He'd sprinkled it with a vivid emerald powder that sent Leo's mouth alight when he tasted it, a fragrant tartness that intensified the creamy custard and the buttered shards of crust. It turned out to be sugared lime leaf powder."
"He remembered Harry calling the toro sea heroin, and looked up into the chef's lupine eyes with a faint chill of apprehension. Certainly he was about to taste something he might not taste again. That was the problem with such a place: once you'd had toro like this, fish like this, you developed a taste beyond your means."The characters are equally well described:
"It was never easy talking to Shelly. She always seemed to be responding to something happening just beyond or over your shoulder, or something you said in your last conversation but didn't remember."
|My husband flipping a crepe.|
If you enjoy good food, Gordon Ramsay's TV shows or ever dreamed of opening a restaurant yourself, you will love Bread & Butter. I read it slowly, savoring the pages. The book has been called food porn. Would someone please open a restaurant like Stray in my town?
Bread and Butter will be released on February 11, 2014. If you want to understand why Michelle Wildgen is one of my favorite authors, check out her other two books as well:
You're Not You
But Not For Long (includes my author interview)
Reviewer's Disclosure: Doubleday, Michelle Wildgen's publisher, asked me to review this book and sent me a free galley. I was not otherwise compensated for this review.
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