A review by transportedlfl
Chef's Kiss, by TJ Alexander


Simone is a pastry chef working her dream job developing recipes for The Discerning Chef. But the magazine is struggling, so her boss tells her she needs to start making video segments and using social media. If that weren't bad enough, a new kitchen manager, Ray, shows up and starts messing with all her processes.

Their relationship is a super slow build with lots of will they/won't they tension. Ray makes the book, and I love them so much as a character. I found it harder to be in Simone's head at times.

I also have to give a huge shout-out to Luna, Simone's roommate. She is a trans woman, and the scenes with her are amazing, especially in the description of the emotional labor of always being asked to explain herself. There are some pretty cringe worthy moments when Ray comes out as nonbinary, both from well intentioned friends and from transphobic characters. But the book as a whole does such a good job describing what a supportive response should be.

This book made me want to bake and reduce vinegar and eat all the amazing foods. There was a lot of detail in the recipes, down to the oven temperature. Even if you aren't interested in reading this for the romance, I would recommend it for the food. I learned some food history I hadn't known, and I started so many conversations with family and friends about old family recipes. This would be a great book club read with accompanying potluck and conversation.

Thank you Simon and Schuster, Emily Bestler Books, and Book Club Favorites for the free book. These opinions are my own.