Title: King of the Kitchen
Author: Bru Baker
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages
At a Glance: I would highly recommend this book if you enjoy a real romance and slow buildup kind of story.
Reviewed By: Carrie
Blurb: Rising kitchen talents Beck Douglas and Duncan Walters have been on the foodie paparazzi radar for years, since their status as heirs to two of the biggest celebrity chef empires around makes them culinary royalty. Beck is known for his charm and traditional food as cohost of his uncle’s popular TV cooking show, while Duncan earned himself a reputation as a culinary bad boy, both for his refusal to work in his father’s restaurants and his avant-garde approach to cooking.
They’re also heirs to a food rivalry that could put the Hatfields and McCoys to shame, and when they’re photographed in the middle of a heated argument, the press goes wild with speculation. Damage control ensues, with a fake friendship engineered by PR cronies that leaves both of them secretly pining for more.
Beck chafes under his uncle’s micromanagement, and Duncan’s relationship with his homophobic father becomes even more tenuous when Beck and Duncan start getting closer. It’s hard to hide their chemistry on national television when Duncan joins Beck’s cooking show, but they won’t be able to take their relationship—or their careers—to the next level without breaking a few eggs.
Review: Duncan Walters is the culinary bad boy. Young, brilliant in the kitchen, he works at various restaurants around Chicago, including a diner, refusing to settle down. His espouses the cooking regimen of molecular gastronomy, having graduated from college with a molecular biology degree, even though he is happiest slinging fried eggs at the diner. Duncan’s father is a 4 star Michelin chef, and Duncan started working in his dad’s kitchens when he was twelve. But, his relationship with his homophobic father is tenuous and, frankly, has soured Duncan on relationships, period. Duncan keeps it light, no strings, no long term commitments in love and his professional life – it’s just easier that way.
Beck Douglas is heir apparent to the culinary King empire. Managing several restaurants by night, by day he is the face of the King of the Kitchen TV show. Nephew to Christian King, the culinary powerhouse, Beck has no time for anything personal; there just are not enough hours in the day. To keep himself sane, he runs on a tight schedule, his every move scripted; it is the only way he can even try to live up to all that is expected of him. Being attracted to a man who wears t-shirts with stupid food slogans on them, or Chucks with his tuxedo, is just not an option.
I loved these guys. This story takes a long time to develop, these men have a lot to overcome both personally and professionally, and they do it all in the public eye since they are celebrities of a sort. As such, they don’t have a real “moment” until the book is 75% done. Don’t get me wrong, we have witty dialog and awesome secondary characters that keep this book moving, and the way it all plays out is totally believable. These two men are like balls that keep pinging off each other, each new collision knocking off all the extraneous bonds of their lives until just the two of them remain, and they can’t resist each other. You will love all the food references, and the TV show could absolutely be on a channel today.
In the end, this book is about two men, though and the restaurant and food references are just aspects of these two men, adding depth and reality to the characters. I would highly recommend this book if you enjoy a real romance and slow buildup kind of story. This was my first Bru Baker story, but it definitely will not be my last!
You can buy King of the Kitchen here: