RESTAURANT WEEKS ARE MURDER
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Number of Pages: 304 pages
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Cape May, New Jersey, is the site of a big culinary competition—and the knives are out . . . Poppy McAllister is happy about opening a Jersey Shore B&B—but working in a professional kitchen has always been her real dream. Now it’s coming true, at least briefly, as she teams up with her former fiancée, Tim—and his condescending partner, Gigi—during the high-profile Restaurant Week challenge. Poppy’s specialty is pastries, despite her devotion to a Paleo diet. But if anyone can make glorious gluten-free goodies, it’s Poppy. Things get heated quickly—especially when some ingredients get switched and Tim’s accused of sabotage. Relatively harmless pranks soon escalate into real hazards, including an exploding deep fryer. And now one of the judges has died after taking a bite of Poppy’s cannoli—making her the chef suspect . . . Includes seven recipes from Poppy’s Kitchen!
Character Guest Post by Chef Tim Maxwell
You need passion to be a great chef. Passion for the ingredients, respect for the kitchen, and the skill to bring them together to make a show stopping dish. My passion for cooking started in high school home economics where I met Poppy. It was as close to love at first sight as I’ve ever been. She was a funny little thing, always bossing me around like she was in charge. One day after class she told me I was taking her to work. I tried telling her no, but she raised her eyebrow, threw her hands on her hips, and tossed that red hair of hers. Before I knew it, I was carrying her books to my car and driving her to the Marquis de Lafayette. After I dropped her off I sat in the parking lot and asked myself, “what just happened?” I didn’t have to think about it for long because she’d ordered me to pick her up four hours later at the end of her shift. Somewhere between the Marq and Aunt Ginny’s house on the drive home we started dating.
Poppy was a force of nature. She knew what she wanted, and she told me what I wanted. And apparently, we wanted to go to cooking school. I’d been working in a restaurant kitchen as a dishwasher for two years. I was in awe of the chefs. How they knew what they were doing with ingredients. The different ways to season meat and chop vegetables. How to tell when a leg of lamb was perfect by smell. It was like magic how they made food taste so amazing. I had perpetual dibs on any Osso Bucco that came back to the kitchen. I was the only sixteen-year-old I knew who’d rather have a Veal Picatta than an Italian Hoagie.
The more I listened to Poppy talk about pastry school the more I realized I really did want to be a chef. And not just any chef, a chef working side by side with the girl I fell in love with. I asked Poppy to marry me when she was fifteen. She laughed in my face. I was totally wrecked because I was serious. I’d met the girl I wanted to be with for the rest of my life, she just didn’t know it yet. I was a year ahead of her so, after graduation I delayed going to the Culinary Institute of America so we could go together. Poppy was taking the pastry classes because that girl has a way with chocolate and sugar like nobody’s business. She was born with a gift. And I was going for my Bachelor’s in Culinary Science. We had plans to get married and open our own restaurant after graduation.
Things went wrong long before we called it quits. Poppy’s relatives pigeon-holed her into business school. They said cooking could still be a hobby. I knew it broke her heart not to go to New York with me. I figured I could learn for the both of us. I never imagined when she gave up on culinary school that she’d given up on me too. Well, that’s all behind us now. Poppy’s home, and she’s single, and I can see the girl I fell in love with is still in there. I’ve asked her to help me with the Cape May Restaurant Week Competition for a chance to get closer to her. I think it’s finally our time. She’s the piece of my life that I’ve been missing. I’d do anything to make her happy. I’m going to make sure all her dreams come true.
Libby Klein dabbles in the position of Vice President of a technology company which mostly involves bossing other people around, making spreadsheets, and taking out the trash. She writes culinary cozy mysteries from her Northern Virginia office while trying to keep her cat Figaro off her keyboard.
Best of luck!