Yes, Chef (Amuse Bouche #2) by T. Neilson
Cover Art: Bree Archer
Release Date: Apr 2, 2019
Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have T. Neilson here today on tour with the new release Yes, Chef. Welcome to STRW!
When I was working in the food industry as a coffee taster (truly, that’s a job. And a very enjoyable one too!) I saw the most remarkable love stories play out around me. There was the gentle giant, an apprentice coffee roaster, who fell head over heels for the quiet baker who came in and drank a cappuccino alone in the corner. There was the opera singer who decided to give it all up to marry the cafe owner. And there was the barista and the computer programmer who fell in love over the course of a year or more, and who suddenly emailed out of the blue to let us know they had gotten married — in Thailand. Food is one of those remarkable things that can be as social as it is satisfying. It’s a catalyst for conversation, for friendship building, and human connection. Maybe you could even call it alchemical, because sometimes it turns everyday interactions into romance gold.
And I mean that! After all, food and sex deeply connected. Don’t believe me? Well, there aren’t many things we hunger for, or that get put into the body, but food is definitely one of those things. And the other one, well, I’m sure you can fill in that blank.
The fine food industry takes this to all new highs. Fine dining in particular means much more than just physical satisfaction, it means theatre and passion. Great chefs take raw materials and transform them to please people. They create a complete experience that satisfies completely. Just like a good lover.
So where better to set a couple of romances than in the foodie world, where passionate people bump into other passionate people, and where people are spending a huge amount of time thinking about the pleasure and satisfaction of other people? And where I’ve seen a lot of romance happen? That was my thinking when I started writing the Amuse Bouche series, featuring a huge family in a small town in the middle of nowhere, who are all in each other’s businesses — literally and figuratively.
I’ve lived in small towns, and have a huge (extended) family, and I’ve seen a lot of real-life romances in the food industry so it wasn’t hard to imagine something wonderful if you blend all those things together and bake it at 350 till it’s nice and toasty. In an environment like a French bakery or a fine dining restaurant there are bound to be fireworks even if your family isn’t up in your business. Those fireworks might be with the work or the people. And when it’s with people, some of those fireworks turn into something sudden and sweet, like in Sweet Nothings. But some of them, like in Yes, Chef, burn with a slow heat, and completely change the way people see themselves.
Plus, in the food industry, people are exactly who they seem to be. The work is too hard and the hours too long for people to maintain any kind of mask. To paraphrase one of my mentors: When you’re in the kitchen, you can’t hide. Who you are and what you are comes out in everything you do, and if you don’t notice it, you can depend on your colleagues to let you know about it. That’s exactly what happens to Simon when an old culinary school friend reappears in his restaurant. It’s been years since Simon saw Luke, and where Simon went on to run a reasonable little fine dining establishment in the boondocks, Luke rocketed to fame and acclaim in New York. Luke is everything Simon thought he wanted to be, but now that Luke has reappeared in his life, Simon has to face the facts: It’s not that he wants to be Luke, it’s that he wants to be with Luke. And his staff won’t let him ignored that.
At that moment, Simon has to face the fact that he’s spent a lot of his life pretending to be who he thinks he should be rather than being who he really is. For someone who’s been the patriarch of a sprawling family since he was young, and the person running the family restaurant, and someone who lives for his work, that makes matters kind of… complicated.
And for Luke, a Michelin-starred chef who’s burnt out and desperately trying to get out of the food industry, and who knows how hard it is to be anything but what you are, there is more than just fine dining expertise to share to Simon. He’s about to give Simon a lesson in passion, too.
Buy link: Dreamspinner Press https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/authors/t-neilson-785
Back cover blurb:
A savory slice of first love.
Simon’s dad died when he was young, leaving Simon to take the reins of the family restaurant business—and the responsibility for his mother and brothers. His commitment to his duty left Simon time for little else, least of all romance.
Argentinian celebrity chef Luke Ferreya has wanted Simon since their culinary-school days, but for Simon, family always came first. Now Luke’s back in Simon’s life—briefly before he returns to South America—and he’s determined to give Simon a sample of everything he’s missed out on.
Simon’s brothers are grown, and his mother is doing fine on her own, and Luke is offering a second chance for a future full of the pleasures of fine food, wine, and especially love. Without his obligations to hide behind, can Simon finally allow himself to say “Yes, Chef”?
About the Author: T Neilson is a writer and foodie who lives on Vancouver Island where the bread, beer, and coffee scene is a thing to behold. A romance writer since 2015, and a food industry die-hard for over a decade, Neilson decided to get out of coffee tasting and get into writing for good. These days Neilson spends a lot of time chasing after a toddler, thinking about upcoming books, and working toward the perfect hand-pie crust. It’s not an easy life, but someone has to do it.