by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Kale to the Queen, and a link to purchase it from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.
It should be impossible that an American chef, just three years out of culinary school, could ever be the family chef for the future rulers of England. What makes it possible for Carrie Ann Cole is a caterer friend getting sick, replacing her as the chef at a New York City charity event, and so impressing the duchess of Cambridge that she hires Carrie to be a chef at Kensington Palace. Her experience working at a Chicago Michelin-starred restaurant is less important to the duchess than Carrie’s emphasis on modernizing, and making healthy, traditional British cuisine. It’s a style that definitely puts her at odds with the palace’s head chef Jeffrey Butterbottom, who dominates an enormous kitchen while supervising meals for prestigious international events.
Carrie has barely time to recover from jetlag before she must oversee a seven-course meal for a child’s birthday party, although with two assistants and an approved menu, it is well within her capabilities. Of course, that was before she discovered one of her assistants murdered, the other arrested for the crime, the kitchen shut down, and being forced to work out of Chef Butterbottom’s tiny test kitchen. Despite having known her assistant Michael Hargrove for barely two days, she is certain of his innocence and intent on proving it. Unsurprisingly, this puts her at odds with the proper household manager, not to mention the Sean Connery-esque palace Security Chief Ian Gordon, who is extremely frustrated with the pushy American.
The novel follows three main plots: the death of Carrie’s sous chef, her unsatisfying love life, and the continual need to produce healthy, delicious meals for the royal family. Carrie left behind in Chicago her chef boyfriend of six years who asked for a “break,” even though she continues to insist that it’s really not one. Carrie may be intent on working on a long-distance relationship, but everyone else in the palace has an opinion that she is delusional. Her boyfriend intends to be a celebrity chef, but Carrie wants to be a chef for celebrities. It’s what makes the palace position a dream job, one that by all rights should be completely implausible and out of her grasp.
This debut mystery series is at its strongest when it focuses on the fascinating and intricate details involved in working in a palace. Stringent security checks, limited secure food resources, and layers of proper hierarchy are made riveting. Fans of Julie Hyzy’s White House Chef Mystery series will adore this new series, where protocol, manners, and culture morays are as important as producing delectable culinary cuisine. Carrie is the epitome of the plucky heroine who refuses to take no for an answer and risks her life to help others, all the while managing to produce healthy and delicious meals.
To enter to win a copy of Kale to the Queen, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “queen,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 13, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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