Off the Menu

Off the Menu

Book - 2012
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As the executive culinary assistant to celebrity Chicago chef Patrick Conlon, Alana Ostermann works behind the scenes--and that's just the way she likes it. But with developing recipes for Patrick's cookbooks, training his sous chefs, picking out the perfect birthday gifts for his ex-mother-in-law, and dealing with the fallout from his romantic escapades, she barely has a personal life, much less time to spend with her combo platter of a mutt, Dumpling.

Then a fluke online connection brings her RJ, a transplant from Tennessee, who adds some Southern spice to her life. Suddenly Alana's priorities shift, and Patrick--and Dumpling--find themselves facing a rival for her time and affection. With RJ in the mix, and some serious decisions to make about her personal and professional future, Alana must discover the perfect balance of work and play, money and meaning, to bring it all to the table--one delicious dish at a time...

INCLUDES RECIPES

Publisher: New York : Berkley Pub., 2012.
ISBN: 9780425247662
042524766X
Characteristics: xii, 401 p.

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jeanner222 Sep 14, 2012

Let me begin by saying that I really wanted to like this novel. Recommended by Jen Lancaster, Off the Menu features a great setting (Chicago), food & foodies, an adorable canine named Dumpling, and a little romance. What’s not to love?

Well, if I weren’t from Chicago, I’d be annoyed by the setting and the author’s constant geographical references (for insiders only). If I weren’t a devotee of Top Chef and all of those food and cooking networks, I would not like this novel. Finally, if I were looking to read a traditional romance, I’d be a little annoyed with this novel.

In a nutshell, Alana works as an executive culinary assistant to celebrity chef Patrick Conlon. This is not a 9-5 job; Alana is working for this guy 24/7. The money’s good, and Alana enjoys working behind the scenes.

But as she closes in on her fortieth birthday, Alana Ostermann wants more. And part of that more means a man. When she meets RJ online, she cannot believe her luck. He’s perfect for her. She’s perfect for him. Now, if only she can find a life/work balance. . .

I guess my beef with this romance is that there’s never any conflict between Alana and RJ. Nothing threatens to come between them. It’s all ooey-gooey fairy tale tripe. Ridiculous. And the celeb chef name-dropping is also quite annoying. That is all.

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kyddo
Jun 19, 2014

"What did you have for dinner, hmmm, handsome? Was it the dead warthog in Limburger cheese sauce again?"

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