Book Reviews

A Cut Above the Rest (Appetite 1) by Talya Andor at Less Than Three Press

Genre Gay / Bisexual / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 31-January-2018

Book Blurb

Alex always had it easy growing up, indulged by loving, but busy parents as he flitted from one interest to another without settling. Then he discovered the world of fine dining and became determined to be a chef capable of producing such magnificent meals. Despite the doubts of a father who limited his funds, and the difficulties of leaving Germany to live in the United States, Alex stuck to his new goal and graduated the Culinary Institute of America.

Fresh out of school, he is eager to begin work at the restaurant owned by a good friend of his father's, a restaurant well known for the beautiful, innovative meals its chefs create. He is primed to join the ranks of those masterful chefs—until the day he starts, and learns that he is nothing more than kitchen lackey, lower in rank than even the dishwashers.

Worse, his boss is none other than Nik, the beautiful, infuriating, highly talented classmate that Alex could never best—or resist.

First Edition published by Less Than Three Press, 2013.

Book Review

For a foodie like myself, this book, with all its descriptions of individual dishes, delicious meals, and inventive cuisine, was as much pure heaven (I wanted to try all of them), as it was hell (I was hungry most of the time!). But I think anyone who enjoys eating and is interested in the chefs in charge of preparing the kind meals we all dream of eating at restaurants will be able to enjoy this "course 1" of the series. With characters as colorful as their productions, and the fierce competition and passion between them, this book is a true delight for all the senses.

Alex comes from money, so they say, but he didn’t want to stay there. He's decided to become a chef, under his own steam, and has successfully survived the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. He managed to get a job at a prestigious restaurant, and expects great things. Nothing could be further from the truth. He is put to work as a kitchen boy, doing everyone else's prep work. He is not amused, but he makes enough blunders to begin to see that maybe he isn’t as ready as he thought he was. The biggest problem in all this is that Nik, his classmate and erstwhile rival at the institute, is a sous chef already. That just rankles!

Nik is a big enigma. I loved seeing him though Alex's eyes and learning more about him as the first few months of Alex's employment pass by. There is definitely an attraction between the two, but there is also rivalry and quite some bad blood. Alex cannot figure out why for the longest time, but when the explanation finally emerges, it makes sense. From then on things work out better between the two, even if Alex, who has asked Nik out and been rebuffed before, doesn't really know how to go about getting closer to Nik. The hot/cold act is enough to drive anyone crazy!

If you like stories with lots of background detail in the very interesting setting of a fine dining restaurant's kitchen, if you enjoy slow-moving relationships between men who clearly have a history they need to get over first, and if you're looking for a read that follows a young, ambitious man in his first steps of building a career, then you will probably like this novella. I enjoyed reading it again and look forward to the next installment as much as with the first edition.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Less Than Three Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 176 pages/43000 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 31-January-2018
Price $4.99 ebook
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