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Monday, August 11, 2014

Review: Yes, Chef! by Lisa Joy + Q&A

Yes, Chef!
by Lisa Joy

Genre: Chic k Lit, Romance, Drama
Publication: July 14, 2014
Format: ebooks, 195 pages
Source: Netgalley
Connect: Website | Twitter
Sassy foodie Becca Stone is over her job taking reservations in one of London's most successful restaurant empires. So when she is unexpectedly catapulted into working as PA to celebrity chef, Damien Malone, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime.

Becca is quickly caught up in an exciting whirlwind of travel, reality TV and opening nights, and even her usually abysmal love life takes a turn for the better. But as Becca is slowly consumed by the chaos of life in the spotlight, she begins to lose touch with her friends, her heart and even with reality. Working with Damien has its challenges and she is soon struggling with his increasingly outrageous demands and sleazy advances, all while managing the ridiculous requests of his self-centered wife. It takes a disastrous trip to Italy for Becca to realize that she may have thrown away exactly what she's been looking for all along.

Inspired by real-life adventures, this deliciously funny and romantic story reveals a tantalizing glimpse of the trendy restaurant scene: a world where chefs are treated like rock stars, and cooking isn't all that goes on in the kitchen.
I’m a sucker for chick lit with a culinary theme book. When I saw the cover and the title for Lisa Joy’s Yes, Chef!, I knew that I have to add this book into my tbr list.

Becca Stone worked with the reservation department for one of London’s successful restaurant empire.  She was pushed to work for as a PA for Damien Malone, a famous celebrity chef, when his PA, Abigail was going on a vacation. Becca learned that working as Damien’s PA isn’t as exciting as she thought it would be. Becca had to cope with Damien’s (and his wife) demands, while struggling to keep up with her friends, and finding her happiness. 

Yes, Chef! was definitely a good debut by Lisa Joy. The book wasn’t what I was expecting to read, judging from the blurb. But it was interesting to read how Becca Stone was going to survive working as the Damien’s PA. Becca was a great character. I have to admit that she wasn’t very likable at first, but I slowly start to like her as I watch how she grew up and finding out what she really want throughout the story.

My only complain is that the story was a bit rushed towards the end. I do think that the book could be, and should be longer. I wish there were more moments/scene of Becca working with Damien. I’d love to know more about how was it to work as a celebrity chef’s PA. All that juicy drama and stuff.

Overall, Yes, Chef was an enjoyable read. I would recommend this book to those who love a book with a hint of culinary theme.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Q&A with Lisa Joy

1. Please introduce yourself and your book.
Hello! I’m Lisa Joy and I live in Melbourne, Australia which is a wonderful foodie city. Yes, Chef! is my debut novel and it was inspired by my years working in the restaurant industry as a manager, reservations coordinator, host, waitress and PA. In addition to writing novels I still work part time as PA to a well known Melbourne chef but fortunately for me he is not like the bully celebrity chef in my book. I’ve never worked in the kitchen but I do love to bake and I live on a farm that supplies vegetables and berries to some of Melbourne’s top restaurants.

2. What inspired you to write?
I love the feeling of being taken out of your ordinary existence and experiencing something extraordinary that reading gives you. I had a teacher in high school that encouraged my short stories but I didn’t consider writing as a profession until about five years ago. Writing makes me feel at peace and gives me a rush all at the same time so it’s something I would do even if my stories weren’t published.

3. Can you relate yourself to any of the characters? Did you experience anything Becca had experienced?
I can certainly relate to the feeling of uncertainty the heroine Becca Stone feels in regards to her career and love life. The angst and bitterness that comes from not knowing your passion in life and experiencing a run of bad dates with scoundrels. I can also relate to the profoundly comforting feeling that comes when you do finally find someone that loves you just as you are.

4. What is the biggest challenge in working in restaurant business?
The hours are long and unless you are dating someone in the industry it’s difficult to find time to spend with your partner. I think one of the hardest things is meeting the customers’ expectations, which in our foodie culture, can sometimes be unrealistic. Some chefs say food is art but ultimately it’s just diner.

5. And what is the biggest challenge in writing this book?
I’d struggled with another novel before Yes, Chef! because I placed so much pressure on myself to become published that I forgot to enjoy the process of writing. With Yes, Chef! my biggest challenge was to drive all thoughts of publication from my mind and write the story as though I were writing it for my good friends. In the end it worked because not worrying so much about becoming a publish author freed up my writing and allowed me not only to finish the book in less than six months but also to really enjoy writing it.

6. Grade your book. How many stars out of a perfect score of 5 stars? Please give the reason too.
I’m not sure if I can do this! I’ve always been very aware that novels are subjective and what I consider to be 5 stars someone else may only rate 1 star. But if I must rate my book, I would like to give Yes, Chef! 5 stars because it brought me so much happiness and enjoyment and I have had so many messages from readers saying it did the same for them.

7. What are you working on right now?
I’m doing lots of promotion work for Yes, Chef! which I love. I’m so pleased readers are taking an interest in the book. I’ve also begun working on my next novel, another foodie adventure-romance set in England and Italy. This book will again touch on the theme of discovering what you truly want from life, even if it’s not what others expect of you. I’m taking a break from restaurants to explore the lush farms of the Italian countryside and the peace and happiness cooking and eating can bring.

8. Anything you would like to say to your readers?
Thank you! I really hope you enjoy reading Yes, Chef! as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you’d like to read more about the research for my next book, news from my farm and life as a writer or recipes from some of the worlds top chefs please visit my journal

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