All The Books I Can Read

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Review: Yes, Chef! – Lisa Joy

on July 14, 2014

Yes, Chef!Yes, Chef!
Lisa Joy
Destiny Romance
2014, eBook
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Becca Stone works taking reservations for Damien Malone’s empire. The celebrity chef owns seven different types of restaurants in London and when customers ring to reserve a table, they don’t ring the restaurant itself, they ring a call center, where Becca works. It’s long hours for less than stellar pay but Becca has made some fantastic friends and she adores living in London.

When Damien’s PA goes abroad for a month, Becca is surprised to be chosen as the fill in. She gets the chance to travel abroad, accompanying Damien to Turkey where they are filming the latest season of his reality TV program. But it’s not all glamorous shoots and beautiful food. Becca is fending off sleazy Damien’s advances, wrangling his domestic issues with his demanding wife and wondering why her love life just keeps going spectacularly wrong. She keeps choosing the wrong guys – and ignoring the one who could be Mr Right.

Her role as Damien’s PA takes over her entire life. It isn’t long before her friendships are slipping away because Becca simply doesn’t have the time to catch up. Damien is incredibly demanding and has her running around at all hours. Eventually Damien demands Becca accompany him to Italy merely to make him look good in front of the other celebrity and famous chefs that are going to be there. When Becca has a family crisis and Damien refuses to let her leave, Becca knows it’s time to start making decisions for herself, both personally and professionally.

As I have mentioned before on this blog, I am a hopeless Food Channel addict. I love watching people cook. I prefer the straight-forward cooking shows to the reality shows but I do admit a fondness for some reality shows as well, especially the British version of MasterChef and also Great British Bake Off. So basically anything revolving around food/celebrity chefs/etc was always going to be a must-read for me. And this book totally lived up to all of my expectations.

Becca is sassy and fun and I loved her and her group of friends that she works with in the restaurant call center. They’re always ducking out for chocolates from the shop downstairs or having drinks or grabbing dinner at Altosaurus, a very prestigious London restaurant that’s close by. It isn’t owned by Damien but they can nearly always get a good table, thanks to the cute manager Dean who seems to be quite interested in Becca. However, Becca tends to go for the guys in suits, the ones who are good looking but ultimately lacking in substance (and also morals, decency etc). She agonises over every decision that she makes, every phone call or text that she receives and even more over the ones she doesn’t.

When Becca unexpectedly finds herself elevated to role of PA to Damien Malone himself, her life begins to change. There’s much less time for dinner and drinks with her friends and she runs around doing not only Damien’s bidding but also that of his extremely high maintenance wife. In fact, Becca realises more than once that it has been several weeks since she either last saw her friends or even spoke to her family. All she does is work for Damien and sleep. She begins to lose sight of who she is and also what she wants out of life. Damien dodges her attempts to talk about a raise (she’s still being paid what she was working in the call center) and she has to deal with continually unpleasant situations, many of them revolving around Damien and his sleazy ways. Despite the fact that she seems unable to change her situation as it becomes increasingly difficult, there are times when Becca really does stand up to Damien and let him know precisely when his actions are unacceptable. Damien is kind of a pathetic character really, overbearing and egotistical, always looking for the next thing that will get him more publicity or drive more people to eat in his restaurants, buy his books and watch his TV shows. He makes outrageous claims to sell books and isn’t satisfied with the 7 eateries he does have, planning to open an 8th. His restaurants are wildly popular and the housewives love him but he’s always trying to have that next big idea, outdo all the other celebrity chefs that are competing for the attention of the public. Becca doesn’t seem to enjoy her job (who would, being a general dogsbody to someone horrid and obnoxious) but it also begins to utterly consume her life.

I have to admit, I kind of cheered to myself when Becca got that wake up call that made her realise that she couldn’t go on this way anymore – that she was letting life pass her by and she was missing out on time with people that she cared about and all for what? It might’ve been different if Damien appreciated her and rewarded her for her efforts and she genuinely admired him and enjoyed her job. But he didn’t and she didn’t either. And once she realised that this is the way it would always be, until she had nothing left in life but him telling her what to do, it was clear that her family emergency, although stressful, had been just the push she needed to begin to reclaim herself.

The romance in this one is rather subtle, a kind of subplot to Becca sorting out her life and finding what she really wants but I really enjoyed that aspect of it. It was cleverly written, teased out enough early so that the reader really wanted it to happen and then the payoff was really sweet. This is a very well constructed story, a good balance of a fun and glitzy London lifestyle and strong friendships and relationships and the ups and downs of them.

8/10

Book #130 of 2014

AWWW2014

Yes, Chef! is the 48th book read for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2014

 

 

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One response to “Review: Yes, Chef! – Lisa Joy

  1. KINDLE BOOKS says:

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