May is Jewish American Heritage Month, and there’s so many amazing books to read in order to celebrate! Our list is full of romance, friendship, and even a biography for kids, with a little something for everyone. We hope you enjoy these amazing books that simply must be on your TBR list! Picture Books Young […]
A chef’s journey to success leads to discovering the perfect recipe for love in this delicious romantic comedy.
Sadie is a rising star in the trendy Seattle restaurant scene. Her dream is to create unique, modern, and mouthwatering takes on traditional Jewish recipes. But after a public breakup with her boss, a famous chef, she is sure her career is over—until she lands a coveted spot on the next season of her favorite TV show, Chef Supreme.
On the plane to New York, Sadie has sizzling chemistry with her seatmate, Luke, but tells him that she won't be able to contact him for the next six weeks. They prolong their time together with a spontaneous, magical dinner before parting ways. Or so she thinks. When she turns up to set the next day, she makes a shocking discovery about who Luke is....
If Sadie wants to save her career by winning Chef Supreme, she’s going to have to ignore the simmering heat between Luke and her. But how long can she do that before the pot boils over?
|Publisher:||Penguin Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.44(w) x 8.23(h) x 0.97(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
My life has this irritating habit of throwing its biggest changes at me while I'm completely in the nude.
Exhibit one, ten years ago: I was seventeen and enamored with a boy my parents hated, all for the completely unfair reason that he skipped school most days to smoke pot behind the local 7-Eleven. I'd snuck him up to my room, deciding against the back door in favor of the tree outside my window because it seemed so much more romantic. We were in the throes of quiet passion when my door flew open.
"Sadie?" my sister said, and her mouth dropped open. She was four years younger than me, so I would've felt bad for traumatizing her if I wasn't so busy screeching and scrambling for my clothes or a sheet or anything to cover up our naughty bits.
"Get out of here!" I grabbed the closest thing within reach-an old soccer trophy-and hurled it in her general direction for emphasis. It landed with a thunk on the rug, which made her jump and blink her eyes. "Get ouuuuuuuut!"
"Okay. Fine." She blinked again and adjusted her glasses. As she turned to go, she said over her shoulder, "By the way, Grandma died."
Exhibit two, six weeks ago: I was getting out of the shower when I heard my phone ding with a text. It was charging on the nightstand, so I picked it up on my way to the dresser. All I saw on the lock screen was that it was from Chef Derek Anders, my boss, and it started with, Hey Sadie . . . I sighed, figuring he was probably asking me to come in for a last-minute shift on the line. I entered my PIN and read the whole text.
Hey Sadie, I'm sorry but we're going to have to let you go.
Exhibit three, five weeks ago: I was walking around my apartment eating Nutella out of the jar with my fingers for breakfast, psyching myself up to put on fancy professional clothes and head out for my nine a.m. interview at the temp agency. My phone rang with a 212 number, which I knew was New York City, and the only reason I picked up was because I thought that the temp agency had its headquarters in New York and maybe they were calling to cancel the interview because what are you thinking, Sadie, all you've ever done is work in restaurants and all you've ever wanted to do is have your own, why are you trying to get an admin job at some obnoxiously hipstery tech company?
It's not like I want to work at a tech company, I argued silently with the temp agency. It's that I've been blacklisted for the near future from the entire Seattle restaurant scene and need some way to earn money until all this fuss dies down.
The temp agency scoffed in my head. Yeah, okay. Like you could do a fancy office job. All you can do is work the line, and now you can't even do that anymore. You're worthless.
I picked up the phone, my shoulders already drooping. "Hello, this is Sadie Rosen."
"Hi, Sadie!" It was a woman on the other end, her tone far too chipper for this hour of the morning. "My name is Adrianna Rogalsky, and I'm calling from Chef Supreme. Is this a good time?"
I almost dropped my phone. "Yes!" I cleared my throat, trying to keep from squeaking the way I did when I got too excited. "I mean yes, this is a good time."
"Great!" Adrianna chirped. "I'm calling to tell you that the committee really liked your application and your cooking video. Would you mind answering a few more questions for me?"
My eyes involuntarily darted to my bookshelf, which consisted mainly of cookbooks. I spent too much time in restaurant kitchens to cook much from them-or at least, up until a week ago I had-but I liked flipping through them to gather ideas and marvel at the food photography. Five were written by winners of Chef Supreme, and four by runners-up and semifinalists. I'd watched every episode of all six seasons, seated on the edge of my couch to goggle at every cooking challenge and winning dish and contestant who cried when eliminated.
Season three's winner, Seattle's Julie Chee, was my culinary idol. Derek, my boss, had taken me by her restaurant after-hours one day. She'd laughed when I told her how I'd been rooting for her all season, patted my head like I was a little kid, and then cooked me a grilled cheese with bacon and kimchi. It was the best night of my life. Right after that, I'd started dreaming about competing on the show myself.
And if I didn't get on my game, that dream was going to evaporate like a pot of boiling water forgotten on the stove. I mean, I didn't really think I was actually going to make it on the show, but it wasn't like I was going to hang up on someone from Chef Supreme. "Sorry!" I said. "Bad connection for a minute there. Yes, I'd love to answer some questions." I shook my head and grimaced. Love? Love was a strong word. I should've said I'd be happy to answer some questions. Now Adrianna was probably-
Talking! Already! "Your application from six months ago says that you're a sous-chef at the Green Onion in Seattle?"
I cleared my throat. "Well, um." This was not off to a great start. "I was a sous-chef there until last week. I decided to leave to . . . um, pursue personal business opportunities." Another grimace. Personal business opportunities? What did that even mean?
I really wished I wasn't naked right now. I knew Adrianna from Chef Supreme couldn't see me through the phone, but I still felt way too exposed.
Fortunately, job-hopping is fairly common in the food world. So Adrianna just said, "Great. And how would you describe your personal style?"
I hoped she meant food-wise and not looks-wise, because my personal fashion style consisted mainly of beat-up Converses, thrift store T-shirts, and constant calculations on how far I could go between haircuts before crossing the line from fashionably mussed to overgrown sheepdog. "At the Green Onion, I was cooking mostly New American food with some French influences and a bit of molecular gastronomy," I told her. "But my own style, I'd say, is more homestyle, with Jewish influences? Not kosher cooking; that's a different thing. I'm inspired by traditional Jewish cuisine."
Paper rustled on the other end. "Right, the matzah ball ramen you cooked in your video looked fantastic. We were all drooling in the room!"
I perked up. Forgot that I was naked. Forgot that lately I was a walking disaster. "That's one of my go-tos and will definitely be on my future menu. I've been experimenting lately with putting a spin on kugels . . ."
As I chattered on, I could practically see my grandma shaking her head at me. Grandma Ruth had cooked up a storm for every Passover, Yom Kippur, and Chanukah, piling her table till it groaned with challah rolls, beef brisket in a ketchup-based sauce, and tomato and cucumber salad so fresh and herby and acidic it could make you feel like summer in the middle of winter. Pastrami-spiced pork shoulder? Really, dear?
I shook my own head back at her, making her poof away in a cloud of metaphorical smoke. I had that power now that she was dead and buried and existing primarily as a manifestation of my own anxiety.
". . . so in that way it's really more of a cheesecake with noodles in it," I finished up. My blood was sparking just talking about my food; I had to do a few quick hops just to burn off some of that excess energy.
"I love your passion," Adrianna said on the other end of the phone. "So, I take it that opening your own restaurant is hashtag goals for you?"
"Hashtag goals," I agreed. And my shoulders drooped again, because that was a dream that was never going to happen now. After I got fired by the Green Onion and the chefs at all the other restaurants worth working at learned why, I became the joke of Seattle's restaurant industry. Who wanted to invest in the local joke?
She asked me a few other questions, pertaining mostly to my schedule and availability (there were only so many ways to say, "I'm free whenever you want me, considering I no longer have a job"). I continued to pace around my apartment, circling the coffee table, bare feet padding over the rug. And then, "It's been lovely to speak with you, Sadie."
I stopped short, my shin slamming into the table leg. I swallowed back a curse. "It's been lovely to speak with you . . . too?" I finished with a question, because I couldn't ask what I really wanted to ask. Is this it? Did I not meet whatever criteria you have? What's wrong with me?
"We'll be in touch soon," Adrianna said. "Have a great day!"
I did not have a great day. Because of Adrianna's call, I was fifteen minutes late to my interview at the temp agency and arrived all sweaty and panting from the rush to get there on time. The interviewer's lip had actually curled in distaste as she touched my damp, clammy hand. The sugar rush from the Nutella had worn off by the time I hurried back out onto the street, and I was starting to feel a little shaky, but the only place to buy food in the vicinity was a coffee shop where I was forced to choose between a stale bagel and some slimy fruit salad.
And that wasn't all. As I chewed (and chewed, and chewed, and chewed) on my stale bagel with too much cream cheese caked on, I ran into an old friend. Like, literally ran into an old friend, as in our bodies collided as I was trying to catch the bus.
"Oh!" I knew it was her as soon as I heard that raspy voice, earned from years of smoking in alleyways behind restaurants. Her eyes widened as she took me in: the sweaty strands of hair sticking to the sides of my face, the thrift store blazer that still smelled like the eighties, even though I'd washed it twice and taken the shoulder pads out. "Sadie! How are you . . . doing?"
I gritted my teeth at the false sympathy in those big blue eyes. "Hi, Kaitlyn. So you heard?"
Kaitlyn leaned in, bringing the smell of smoke with her. I fought the urge to step back. Even after years working in restaurant kitchens, where most everybody was a smoker at least when drunk, I hated the smell. "Of course I heard. I'm surprised you're still here. Not here in SoDo, like, in Seattle."
"I'm still here," I said through a clenched jaw. Kaitlyn Avilleira and I had quasi-bonded in our early twenties, a little over five years ago. We were the only two women on the line at Atelier Laurent, and we had to have each other's backs if we didn't want to get banished to the pastry kitchen.
Having her back didn't mean I liked her.
"That's really strong of you." Kaitlyn pulled me in for a one-armed hug that might actually have been an attempt to strangle me. "I'm rooting for you, girl!"
I gritted my teeth in a smile. This was the song and dance of our relationship: seeing who could pretend harder that we did like each other, because we were busy fighting so many stereotypes about women on the line that there was no way we could fulfill the one where the only two women were enemies. "Thanks, Kait!"
An uncomfortable silence settled over us. I looked in the direction of the bus. No, I stared in the direction of the bus, willing it with my eyes to appear.
Alas, I had not developed any magical powers in the past few minutes.
"We have to get drinks sometime," I said. "And catch up. It's been way too long."
"Way too long," Kaitlyn said. She tossed her long, shiny brown hair. Her eyes sparkled, and her cheeks were naturally rosy. She never had to wear blush or undereye concealer to keep coworkers from asking her if she was sick. "Wait till I tell you about working for Chef Marcus. He works me like a dog." She trilled a laugh. "I almost wish I could take a break like you."
I clenched my jaw and told myself that I couldn't hit her or I'd get arrested, and going to jail was really the only way I could make my situation worse. Well, that, or moving back in with my parents in the suburbs, into my childhood bedroom with the shag carpet and no lock on the door.
"Well, I'd better be going," Kaitlyn said, just as I was saying, "Well, I'll let you go." Our words clashed, and we both laughed nervously before hugging yet again. "You should finally open that restaurant now that you're free and have all this time," Kaitlyn said as she backed away. "I'll be there opening night!"
Thankfully, she was off before I had to respond. I made a face at her back. Of course I wanted to open my restaurant now that I was free and had all this time. But opening a restaurant either took lots of money, which I didn't have even before the whole unemployment situation, or a bunch of rich investors willing to throw their money away on my behalf, which, again, I wished.
The bus was delayed, obviously, and it took me twice as long as it should have to get home, the whole time crammed in next to a manspreader who kept giving me dirty looks for trying to sit in three-quarters of my own seat. I stared hard out the window, watching the warehouses and industrial lofts turn into the residential buildings and parks of Crown Hill. By the time I stumbled through the door of my apartment, I was done with today. I pulled off my clothes, dropping them in puddles on the floor, so that I could shower the stink of failure away and then eat something for my soul. Like more Nutella out of the jar.
My phone chimed. It's probably the temp agency already rejecting me, I thought glumly, digging it out of my bag. Sure enough, it was an email.
But it was from Adrianna Rogalsky of Chef Supreme. And it started with Hey Sadie, just like my firing-by-text. Fantastic. I took a deep breath as I clicked it open, readying myself for yet another important food world person to tell me how inadequate I was.