Chef in the Wild by M.J. O’Shea has a number of good elements going for it as a contemporary romance. The first of a series, Sizzle in the Kitchen, it’s center is a recently fired celebrity chef trying to climb his way out of burnout and a stressed out talented food truck chef fighting for his family’s approval. All taking place in the expensive, highly competitive location of Manhattan, NYC.
I really like the character of Chef Baldwin Powell. Recently fired from the restaurant he raised up to culinary fame and Michelin 2 stars, he’s a depressed man scrambling to find himself and his passion again. While O’Shea doesn’t dwell on this time in any depth, it’s not just a light matter either. It’s enough to give Peter Baldwin Powell dimension. He needs a new path back to his love of food and cooking.
And he finds it on a stroll and a food truck owner who’s been enticing him with delicious aromas and the offers of fantastic wraps.
Food trucks are a marvelously current element. Every city has its share of fabulous trucks and outstanding food. Even in my small town here there’s a Food Truck Thursday with just great offerings.
Shout out to Boombas Kitchen Food Truck and The Corned Beef King food truck should you ever be in Olney,Md!
So the next character, Murphy Haynes, is the chef of That’s A Wrap food truck. Murphy is younger, a talented chef from a rich family that doesn’t value his life choices.
So many issues stemming from that sentence. He’s a good character with that one personality defect, doesn’t communicate well, that usually keep me from connecting with him.
That plus his need to run away instead of talking through any issues that arise between them as a couple.
When they are together, cooking or , well, eating, Baldwin and Murphy are a cute couple. But at the first hint of a problem or a discussion, Murphy shuts Baldwin down. Won’t come home with him when asked. Doesn’t want to listen to any plans. Won’t explain his feelings to Baldwin. And then essentially runs away. More than once.
Murphy has understandable issues but is a character/personality with a inability to communicate.
So this becomes essentially a one sided relationship. One lacks maturity, and his continuing inability to talk about his issues ends up hurting himself and the relationship.
As well as my need to connect with this character too. This type of behavior in a character or relationship is one almost guaranteed to remove my continued in a storyline.
Especially ,since the fight and run response is big with Murphy . Then a enormous repeat of said actions with an immediate reconciliation. Boom done.
For me, that relationship was appearing a tad toxic. Murphy was ghosting Baldwin then showed up, after majorly running away for a lengthy amount of time.
Hmm. This scenario just didn’t work for me. Talk about a forced happy ending.
Only the town of Montpelier, Baldwin, and the cooking kept this rating from sinking.
There’s four books in the series. I will continue on at least to the next story.
If you like books about chefs, contemporary romance, give this a try and see what you think.
Sizzling in the Kitchen:
✓ Chef in the Wild #1
◦ Chef Vs Chef #2
◦ Chef On Top #3
◦ Chef In Love #4
He would’ve never guessed he was one perfect burrito away from falling in love…
Chef Baldwin Powell has everything he could ever want.
Until he doesn’t.
Fancy parties, celebrities, magazine write-ups, his own little empire of stainless steel and fire – he thought all of it was forever. It only takes one awful meeting for everything he’s worked for to be yanked out from underneath him. And one fateful meeting with the owner of food truck, of all things, to realize maybe what he thought he wanted isn’t what he needs after all.
They’re opposites in nearly every way – On paper it should be a disaster. But life and love in the wilds of Manhattan rarely work out the way anyone expects.
Unless it’s noted, all books reviewed have been purchased by the reviewer.