venerdì 5 dicembre 2014

Review & Giveaway: Chef's Table by Lynn Charles

Highland Homecoming
Title: Chef's Table by Lynn Charles
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance, Comedy
Published December 2nd 2014 by Interlude Press
Length: 278 pages


Chef Evan Stanford has climbed the New York City culinary ladder one proper rung at a time, earning himself the Rising Star James Beard award and an executive chef position at one of New York City's favored restaurants in Hell's Kitchen. But in his quest to build his reputation, he's forgotten what got him there; the lessons on food—and life—from a loving neighbor back home in Illinois.

Patrick Sullivan lives a contented life in Brooklyn cooking at Johnny's diner, keeping the memory of his grandmother and her Irish cooking alive even in the foods she never taught him to prepare. When Chef Stanford comes into his diner requesting and enjoying one of his grandmother's specialties, he's swept up by Evan's drive, his passion, forcing himself to reconsider if a contented life is a fulfilled one.

With much in common, the two men—and Evan's particularly spoiled pug Dini—begin a journey through their culinary histories falling into an easy friendship. Even with the joys of their newfound love, and the guidance and support of friends old and new, can they tap into that secret recipe of great love, great food and transcendent joy?

Book Links:

My Review
I love cooking and I really like the books starring chefs or bakers. You can always find a recipe or some new dish and especially get into a kitchen chef. It was exciting to live in the large kitchen of Chef Evan but also enter the small kingdom of Patrick.
Evan has worked so hard to achieve his high professional level: he left his home in Illinois to go to New York and slowly managed a grow and go from waiter to chef of an upscale restaurant. Now at 33 years is a respected chef but seems to have lost the passion, the enthusiasm that accompanied the early years, he lost all interest and stimulation in the kitchen. When he goes to dinner in local Patrick remains pleasantly surprised. It 's a simple kitchen, most of the recipes are of his grandmother or kitchen Irish folk. The passion and the cuisine of Chef Patrick help Evan regain his enthusiasm and his imagination lost and among them will be born a tender friendship.
The two main characters are very well characterized and very realistic: they have two strong personalities although very different. Patrick is passionate and solar and loves the simple and traditional cuisine while Evan is very determined and sophisticated, the kitchen only to those who can afford certain chic restaurants. Their diversity instead of dividing them join increasingly and was compelling to see grow their friendship and become a tender relationship
The philosophy of this book is that a good dish is also able to soothe the soul as Chef Evan cheesecake with Black Forest ..... Who would not want to be in his place?
It 's really a delightful book, enjoyable, fun, very well written, "to eat in one bite."

My rating                                               *****
Excerpt 4: 

So, instead of walking home from the DeKalb station, he stopped into Johnny's hoping Patrick was at the grill. The other cook, Oscar, was fine enough, but he needed a dose of Patrick. Of his food. Of his ability to speak through his food. His cheesecake, the special off-menu treats he'd whip up for Evan, all had a piece of Patrick in them. Evan didn't know his story, of course, but somehow he felt as if it were right there laid out in front of him, waiting for him to learn it.

Fate was on his side.

"Why don't you come on back, Chef? How long has it been since you've worked in a small kitchen, huh?"

And now he'd been caught staring.

Evan looked away, flushed and too tired to care. But when he looked back at Patrick, he was met with a friendly smile. "I should probably learn a more stealthy way to stare."

"Only if you want..." Patrick glanced up at a ticket on his rail. "Seriously, how long has it been?"

"Quite some time and—" Evan looked around. The diner was almost empty, winding down another day. "You still have some patrons. Thank you, though."

"Who cares? Besides, I figure you won't strain your neck that way.”

But Evan wasn't longing for the days of a small space and a small staff, although upon reflection, it did seem like a simpler time.

For all of his psychobabble and emotional meanderings on the train, by the time Evan had arrived at Johnny's and sat down at a prime counter seat for the show in the kitchen, it had come down to this: The view was tremendous.

Patrick's arms were strong and cut, lifting soup and stock pots as if they were wicker baskets. His skin rippled over flexing muscles that tested the strength of his shirt seams as they strained under the movement of his arms. The bastard even whistled along with the music as he worked—and it wasn't annoying.

Evan felt heat rise to his cheeks and ears, and Patrick simply smiled, waiting for a reply or a motion, something more responsive than a prepubescent mouth-hang.
"I'm only coming back if I can help."

Guest post: A recipe

Irish Soda Bread
Regardless of what it's called, it's an Irish staple. You can find it at any meal, afternoon tea and of course, alongside any respectable serving of oysters. If you serve it with butter—and really why make it if you don't—treat yourself to some Irish butter. It's cultured, unlike American varieties making it richer and creamier and fuller in flavor. Kerrygold makes a fantastic Irish butter and you can find it, as well as their delicious cheeses, in most major grocery stores. (Dubliner cheese? I would sit and eat it with a knife in a white-walled cement room and be happy it's that good. "One more chunk. Just… maybe two more chunks.")
You can also add currants or raisins, but I'm quite fond of it plain. This is a combination of recipes from Simply Recipes and a delightful cookbook that fed much of Patrick's dishes in Chef's Table, Real Irish Food by David Bowers.
Makes 1 medium loaf, 6-8 servings. Or two servings. Gluttony is favorably looked upon when it comes to soda bread and butter
·        3 cups coarse, stoneground whole wheat (this specifically is hard to find—but I used Arrowhead Mills stoneground whole wheat flour, found in the "health food" section of my grocery, and it worked beautifully)
·        1 cup all purpose flour
·        1 tsp baking soda
·        1 tsp salt
·        1 ½ - 1 ¾ cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, stir together the flours, soda and salt. Mix in enough buttermilk to make a stiff dough, kneading as little as possible to combine.
Turn into a slightly greased cast iron skillet (my preferred method) or onto a floured rimless baking sheet. The bread will flatten a little on the baking sheet. Shape into a round, and cut a large cross onto the top—to let the fairies out. Or, you know, to let the bread bake evenly depending on whether you are more into the science or the magic.
Bake for 35-45 minutes (cast iron might take a little longer), or until a long skewer poked into the center comes out clean. If the top starts to get too dark, tent it with foil.
If using cast iron, make sure to use potholders to remove it from the oven. Let rest in pan for 10 minutes and then turn onto a rack to cool. When it's properly done, the bottom should sound hollow when lightly tapped.

Can be eaten warm. In fact, it's best fresh from the oven.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Lynn Charles’ love of writing dates back to her childhood, but took shape as an adult, when she found herself expressing her grief in a years' worth of journaled letters to a lifelong friend who passed unexpectedly. She has been writing works of fiction in the online fan community since 2002, where thousands of readers have enjoyed her stories.

She lives in central Ohio with her husband, two adult children and a small menagerie of animals. When she’s not writing, she can be found working at her county library, riding bikes with her husband and strolling local farmer’s markets in search of ingredients for new recipes.

Chef’s Table is her debut novel.

Connect with Lynn at


Giveaway: A $25 Interlude Press GC to one randomly drawn winner and digital copies of CHEF’S TABLE to ten randomly winners via Rafflecopter.  One randomly chosen host will win a $25 Interlude Press GC.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

4 commenti:

  1. Thank you so much for having me, and for the sweet review!

  2. Thank you for the review; I'm becoming very interested in the book the more I read about it. :-)

  3. I'm definitely intrigued!

    Trix, vitajex(at)Aol(Dot)com


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