King of the Kitchen: Never has cooking been so appealing to read
Today I’d like to introduce you to one of the most delicious novels I’ve read in a looooooong time, King of the Kitchen, and that’s not just because of the food and the recipes included. But in order to do that, let me first explain how I met Bru Baker, and how she once saved my life in Chicago!
Picture a hotel shaped like an octagon (it’s like a Pentagon on speed!), lots of corridors and corners. Picture further, a woman in her best years, someone you’ve never met before, approaching you on the first day of your life’s very first literary convention (nerve-wrecking as that can be), asking you if you’d like to come to a “party”. Trying not to be rude, I accepted graciously, and was given a room number on the ground floor, and a time when to report to it: “It’s a suite!”, the lady said, before disappearing into the crowd.
A few minutes before this “party” was supposed to start, I left my room on the fifth floor, took the elevator to the ground floor and began to walk through he corridor, turning corner after corner, approaching the suite where this party was to be held. As I approached the room, for every corner I turned, I panicked more, my imagination running amok, picturing the lady standing behind the door with a butcher knife, an axe, ready to do with me as she saw fit, and I was thinking “what on Earth were you thinking, accepting an invite from a complete stranger, a woman at that, this Southern Belle, just to be butchered, slaughtered and killed in a suite somewhere in the deep frozen outskirts of Chicago on a dark October night in 2014.
When I arrived, I was sweating profusely, my entire body was shaking, and I literally had to will my hand to knock on the door, on what was likely to be the last thing I ever did. I was ready to meet my maker. The door opened and I saw Bru Baker! She was the roommate of my butcher… One look at Bru was all it took to realize I was safe, and to calm my nerves. That’s just not the face of the accomplice of a serial killer! Needless to say, it turned out to be one of the best nights of my life, despite the disgusting beer Helen (the not-so-much-butcher) had been lured to buy at a nearby liquor store. We had a hoot and became fast friends and remain close to this day.
From butchering to King of the Kitchen: Bru released this novel late last year and she figured (after I had asked her) that it would be a good book of hers to get to know her writing, and I was looking forward to reading it. I love it! I can only imagine the amount of time Bru must’ve spent pouring over cooking books and recipes in order to write this piece. There are so many delectable foods being prepared and presented that I was constantly hungry (tip #1: keep snacks handy when reading it!) The cover of the book is a fresh breeze in a genre that otherwise mostly displays headless torsos. Thank you Bru! It’s also typical of who Bru is as a person, so I’m not surprised at her choice of cover. Question is if readers will give it a shot despite the absence of eye candy on the cover. Tip #2: Go buy this book now! You won’t regret it.
The story itself revolves around two chefs, two very different personalities, Duncan and Beck, and if you’re into tropes (I’ll readily admit to hating the very word itself), you could probably call this “enemy to lover”, but as I said, that’s not really doing it justice. Bru’s writing is refreshing, and she introduces the reader to a world most of us have never seen, that of restaurant kitchens and TV studios. The story is so well written, as easily digestible as the bacon foam from the story, and I read it, more or less in one go. This is by no means to say that it lacks depth, quite the contrary. Both the main characters come to life quickly and are supported by secondary and third characters that feel very much flesh and blood.
As a gay man, reading the sex in books has become a bit of a page turner (in the worst possible way), and even in this instance, Bru is an exceptional writer. I won’t say why, because I hate spoilers in reviews, but I assure you, rarely have I read sex and love making so realistically depicted as in Bru’s King of the Kitchen. Take my word for it, I’ve got almost four decades of experience in this field, which I put on paper in my coming release (pun intended)!
Oh, and as an added bonus, if you’re not satisfied after reading the story itself, Bru has included all the recipes used in the story for you to try out at home. I haven’t, but given how well they tasted when reading, I’m sure you’re in for a treat in that regard as well.
So thank you Bru, for saving my life that night, and for entertaining me so delectably!
Have a wonderful day.