The Spice Master at Bistro Exotique
Kate Jenkins doesn't believe in fate. She believes in a clear vision, meticulous planning, and hard work in order to achieve her culinary dreams. On the cusp of opening her own Parisian restaurant, Bistro Exotique, she isn't even concerned when her standoffish--and annoyingly sexy--neighbor dismisses her as a crazy American tourist or when she meets the wildly eccentric Garrance, the self-proclaimed Spice Master of Paris, who ominously warns her of the previous owner's failures.
Confident and optimistic, Kate keeps calm and cooks on. Until a series of unfortunate events derail her plans and her entire staff quits.
Kate is about to throw in the kitchen towel on her lifelong dream when Garrance offers to use her mastery of scents and spices to help her, but it comes at a price: Kate must work with Garrance's son, Charles, a world-class chef and total jerk. After Kate hesitantly concedes to the deal, she slowly learns to open her heart and mind to new concepts, not quite sure if the magic she's experiencing comes from Garrance's spices, from within herself, or from the growing chemistry with Charles. One thing is certain, though: her kitchen is getting increasingly hot.
It’s always exciting when an author whose writing you love releases a new book that whisks you off to Paris, and just in time for Christmas too; I was grinning from page one and loved every minute.
The Spice Master at Bistro Exotique is a vibrant, lively and incredibly funny read, with crazy characters I wanted to be friends with. I felt for Kate, who finds herself living a nightmare, as despite focus and planning, everything that could possibly go wrong as she opens the bistro of her dreams, does go wrong. Then there is her mother, loving and supportive, but oh, so embarrassing, she had me laughing a lot. When eccentric Garrance, her sidekick Juju, and her mysterious collection of spices enter Kate’s life, things suddenly begin to heat up in her kitchen. Sometimes in life, the trick is knowing what (or who) to pair together for the magic to happen.
I devoured chapter after chapter. Like a good recipe, this book contained just the right mix of ingredients to create a perfectly balanced
dish read, full of spice, flavour sensations that made my mouth water and just enough heat to raise my temperature a few degrees.
This is another feast of a read from Samantha Vérant and if you are looking for a romantic getaway to Paris, add The Spice Master at Bistro Exotique to your Christmas list, you won’t be disappointed.
Samantha Vérant is a travel addict, a self-professed oenophile, and a determined, if occasionally unconventional, French chef. She lives in southwestern France, where she's able to explore all of her passions, and where she's married to a sexy French rocket scientist she met in 1989, but ignored for twenty years.
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You might also like to read my France et Moi interview with Samantha or my reviews of her previous books:
All of these are great reads for Francophiles.