Can a talented but struggling chef find love with a critic who wrote a scathing review of her restaurant?
The only thing Lou has ever wanted is to be a chef in her own kitchen, and her dream has come true at Luella’s, a small but inviting French restaurant in Milwaukee. Trying to coordinate her career with her attorney/fiance’s schedule is complicated and is becoming harder to feel good about since he seems determined to minimize her dreams. When she decides to surprise him on his birthday with her specialty coconut cake, she discovers him with a nearly naked intern and flees to her restaurant. Shocked and distracted, she experiences the worst professional evening of her life, only to discover a few days later that the snarky new Milwaukee food critic came by on that horrible night. Heading to a nearby pub to drown her sorrows, she meets Al, a handsome transplanted Brit who can’t find his footing in the Midwest, and in a tipsy flirtation, promises to show him the best of Milwaukee. Intrigued, Al takes her up on her offer, and the two spend a series of nondates enjoying the city and trying to read each others' mixed signals and romantic false starts while agreeing not to discuss work. Just as Al admits he's in love with the city and the girl, he discovers exactly who she is and how completely he crushed her dreams with his review. Reconciliation seems impossible, though an unexpected gift might offer a glimmer of hope and redemption. A few hard-to-swallow details don’t derail the overall success of Reichert’s quirky and endearing debut, which skillfully and slyly examines identity and community while its characters find love in surprising places.
Clever, creative, and sweetly delicious.