Review: Just a Taste by Deirdre MartinThursday, December 27, 2007 13:00
As a closet pseudo foodie (ok so I just watch way too much Food Network), this really appealed to me. Romance, rival chefs, and fun in the kitchen. Add in some emotional growth and wanting to move on and find love again, it could be a good thing.
Anthony is used to being top dog in Brooklyn. Though he’s not a classically trained, he’s got style, flair and a talent for home cooked Italian goodness that has helped his family restaurant grow in the last decade or so. Though he’s still grieving his wife, he’s starting to move on. He’s got to deal with his brother, a retired hockey player and now stay at home dad, but he can handle that. When Vivi barges through his kitchen, things start to change and maybe Anthony isn’t ready for it.
Vivi has come from France (full of mean sexist male chefs) to start fresh and be her own boss. With her is her half sister Natalie, who ends up causing lots of harm and very little good. Vivi wants to be neighborly and introduce herself to her restaurant neighbor, but she comes across as more a snooty know-it-all rather than a friendly person.
Vivi warms throughout the first half of the book as she and Anthony have some private, then public, cooking competition, which then leads to some pretty steamy sex. Though really, what serious chef actually would make love to someone for the first time in their own kitchen? Germs anyone? Kind of ick. . .
Vivi, though, starts to listen to things other than her heart and breaks things off with Anthony. To which the reaction could be something like “You two dance around each other, then get together, then spend the last 1/3 of the book dancing around each other again? WTF?” It rang false, and seemed to be something to throw a kink in the romance and make the book longer, rather than some justifiable romantic troubles.
It also didn’t seem to help that the discussions and descriptions of the foods seemed to have more chemistry than the lead characters did. Or maybe I was just happy to have a foodgasm due to such wonderful images of tasty foods.
One nice thing was the fact that though this was a part of a series, most of the rest are hockey books, one of which is about Anthony’s brother and sister-in-law (perhaps worth checking out due to seeing Anthony as a married man, or at least him before he met his wife? I don’t know), who have an integral secondary part of Just a Taste in helping run Dante’s and helping get Vivi’s restaurant off the ground.
Though a cute (and drool inducing) premise, the romance wasn’t up to standards with the cooking. Or maybe I didn’t like it because Vivi and her sister are French. . .I don’t know. The style was good, I liked the New York-isms and in general the relationships between characters were good, whether family or friend, if Vivi and Anthony had cooked up things in the bedroom as well as the kitchen it would have worked better.
For delizioso pasta, go to Dante’s. For a sumptuous Cordon Bleu, go to Vivi’s. To really heat things up, get them together.
Since his wife’s untimely death, Anthony Dante has thrown himself into his cooking, making his restaurant, Dante’s, a Brooklyn institution. So far, his biggest problem has been keeping his retired hockey star brother out of the kitchen. But now, a mademoiselle is invading his turf. And you know what they say: too many chefs spoil the neighborhood.
Stunning Vivi Robitaille can’t wait to showcase her tastebud-tingling recipes in her brand new bistro, Vivi’s. Her only problem is an arrogant Italian chef across the street who actually thinks he’s competition. The table is set for a culinary war until things start getting spicy outside of the kitchen…
Read an excerpt.