In cooking and in love,
sometimes you have to improvise...
When Nikki lands an assistant job at her idol's restaurant, she's sure her next big break is around the corner. After a rocky start, she befriends Paul, the handsome executive chef. Although he graduated from culinary school, and Nikki's a self-taught cook, the two begin bonding in the kitchen.
But Nikki's new boss, Holly Hanson, turns out to be a disappointment--something Paul's known for a long while. And that's even before Holly steals Nikki's recipes. Holly fires both Nikki and Paul to cover up this secret.
Can Nikki and Paul win against the scheming of a celebrity chef? Maybe, with some creative thinking...and a dash of love.
This ebook contains a free original recipe for Nikki's Beef Chili with Cinnamon.
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About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Nikki has been working in her dream job for years – she’s a cook with an ‘out of the box’ flair for taking the ordinary and unexpected (WHO uses rootbeer and peanut butter in beef stew?) and making something delicious. But the diner she’s worked at for the last while is closing, and the need to find another job, preferably cooking, is imminent. Her problem –she doesn’t have the experience of culinary school, so most of the restaurants in town won’t consider her for a position. Her best friend has already found a new job – waitressing for Nikki’s Idol – Holly Hanson– at her self-named restaurant, one of the many arms of the octopus-like brand she has built. An ‘after-shift’ invitation for Nikki to meet her roomie and perhaps have a moment to meet her idol have her completely excited and ready for more. Paul is a Cordon Bleu graduate and has been Holly’s Executive Chef for the past five years: a job that he does very well, even as Hope’s refusal to consider ‘tweaking’ bland recipes or allowing him a dish on the menu have stifled his love for the job. He knows that there are tensions between Holly and her major investor Henry – the restaurant isn’t busy enough and it is obvious to everyone. When he meets Nikki, having a glass of wine and the cassoulet that he wants to tweak as she waits for her roommate – their conversation only serves to enforce his own doubts about the dish, even as it hurts his feelings. But when Nikki arrives as Holly’s ‘assistant’ the next day – he’s floored. Nikki is wonderfully open and friendly, with a true sense of warmth that infects everyone around her. Her instinctual approach to cooking, combined with her ability to elevate even simple foods is a revelation – to no one more than Hope who, after locking her in the restaurant after hours on her first day, discovers her cooking a meal – and her plan is born. Holly needs new recipes to bring in diners – Nikki is thrilled to be there with the stars in her eyes, eagerness to please and excitement in being in Holly’s presence. Perhaps she can spin this new assistant along for recipes and rework of her restaurant – before firing her (of course) without revealing who actually made the food. The romance here between Nikki and Paul is sweet – slow to burn and full of moments of miscommunication: his own frustrations with her ‘helping’ to see he and his parents reunited and her own inability to share her deepest thoughts as her ex was ‘not interested in her pipe dreams’ all lead to more confusion and back and forth than is truly necessary. With insets about food and flavors, moments of giving back and moving forward and a huge bombshell dropped by Holly in a last-ditch ‘hide the secret’ moment: the story brings Paul and Holly together as they should have been all along. Sweet and clever with character development that tugs at your “I want to know more” string – this is a quick read sure to leave you with a smile. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
I watch many Hallmark movies as they are both wholesome and leave you with a good feeling. In transitioning these movies to books, Hallmark is providing a great reading selection for those who want a love story with a clean story line. When I read romances, I prefer this format. This book follows the format of the screenplay of the movie but branches out into the thoughts and feelings of the characters. When get to see into the minds of several of the characters as the POV changes quite often. The story is about a young woman, Nikki, who is trying to establish herself as a chef but who lacks the culinary school credentials to be hired by the formal restaurants in her town. She does get hired to assist a very well-known chef and celebrity but only as an administrative assistant. There is also a hunky and sweet chef named Paul who is intrigued more and more by Nikki. A happenstance locked door provides her with a time and place to try out her recipes in the restaurant but it turns out that someone else is watching as well. From that point, the story plays out with good guys and bad guys and lots of great sounding dishes. I kind of wish some of the recipes had been included as well! I was provided a digital advance reader copy of this book by the publisher via Netgalley.
I thought this was a really cute, clean story. I saw the Hallmark movie when it came out last year and I really enjoyed it. I think it is hard to read a book after you've seen a movie and the wording is so identical. However, the book gives more time to the private thoughts of the characters and also gave me what so many Hallmark movies come just a little short on...details on the long term situation of Paul and Nikki's relationship. Thank you, thank you for the epilogue! Overall this was a fun, quick read, and I look forward to the Hallmark family putting out more books like this. Thanks to Netgalley.com for giving me a copy of this lovely book in exchange for my review.
ARC for honest review with no compensation Dash of Love by Liz Isaacson is based on a Hallmark Original Movie and so on point. Love watching Hallmark Movies and this just adds to it. What’s a short order, self-taught cook in a diner and an executive chef who works for a celebrity chef have in common…their love for food! ! When Nikki’s job at the diner comes to an end she is looking to get into an upscale restaurant to work in the kitchen and show her talents but when she is hired by Holly Hanson, celebrity chef and restaurant owner, her job is as an assistant to Holly and not work in the kitchen since according to Holly without a culinary degree Nikki knows nothing about food or presentation. Little does Nikki know that when she approached Holly to let her use the kitchen after hours to keep her cooking skills honed, Holly is stealing her recipes to put in her new cookbook and to feature in her restaurant as her own recipes. Paul the executive chef accidentally discovers Nikki working after hours and one thing leads to another and I don’t mean exchanging recipes…but when Holly discovers them she fires them both but when Paul and Nikki find out what Holly is planning they decide to beat her at her own games and with Nikki’s former diner closed they decide together to open a Pop Up restaurant to show case Nikki’s flair and Paul’s new recipes that is until Holly finds out and tries to destroy them both…will Nikki and Paul let Holly win or will they pull together and show her how a top notch restaurant is run and find a lasting love???