Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Chef's Table Blog Tour! (+$ 25 Interlude Press Giftcard!)

Title: Chef's Table
Author:  Lynn Charles
Series: N/A
Pages: 278
Date Published: December 2nd, 2014
Publisher: Interlude Press
Format: Paperback
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours

Chef Evan Stanford has climbed the New York City culinary ladder one proper rung at a time, earning himself the Rising Star James Beard award and an executive chef position at one of New York City's favored restaurants in Hell's Kitchen. But in his quest to build his reputation, he's forgotten what got him there; the lessons on food—and life—from a loving neighbor back home in Illinois.

Patrick Sullivan lives a contented life in Brooklyn cooking at Johnny's diner, keeping the memory of his grandmother and her Irish cooking alive even in the foods she never taught him to prepare. When Chef Stanford comes into his diner requesting and enjoying one of his grandmother's specialties, he's swept up by Evan's drive, his passion, forcing himself to reconsider if a contented life is a fulfilled one.

With much in common, the two men—and Evan's particularly spoiled pug Dini—begin a journey through their culinary histories falling into an easy friendship. Even with the joys of their newfound love, and the guidance and support of friends old and new, can they tap into that secret recipe of great love, great food and transcendent joy?
~Guest Post!~
About halfway through Chef's Table, Evan and Patrick have a drunken evening where, in the midst of silliness and an innuendo storm, they discuss their guilty food pleasures.

It's a common understanding that chefs, in particular, do not have the best dietary habits. Their schedules are insane and while they might be standing over the heat of the best food, they just don't necessarily partake of it outside of the constant tasting that goes on during the day. Family meal, the staff meal before lunch and dinner service, can often be quick, hurried, and a way to get rid of leftover ingredients. (Some restaurants use a different approach and focus on quality for family meal too, figuring if you can't cook great food for your friends, how can you be expected to do so for strangers?)

And after the shift? It's often a grab of carryout eaten over their home sink before they pour themselves into a hot shower and into bed so they can get up and do another twelve hour shift the next day. Similar to doctors who make the worst patients, chefs often make the worst eaters.

So, the opportunity for guilty pleasure eating is pretty high. Something fast, convenient and filling becomes a priority over something healthy, well made or particularly flavorful. So, it's no surprise both of our guys like to grab a quick dog at Gray's or Papaya King. And it's no surprise they fall into a disgusting slop of drunken nostalgia when they grab all of the convenience foods they loved while younger men in the city.

While writing, I had to ask myself what my guilty pleasure food was. I tend to take Patrick's philosophy, "I do not believe in guilty pleasures. If it brings me pleasure, why should I feel guilt?" but as someone who grimaces at the idea of processed foods when fresh is often easier, always tastier and most definitely better for you—salt lick in a seasoning packet anyone?—I must admit I take some shortcuts on the regular that go completely against it as well.

And I feel a little guilty about it.

Speaking of seasoning packets, taco seasoning. I've tried making my own blend and it just… doesn't have the same taste, consistency, etc. that I've grown accustomed to with the sodium-laden packets. So, burrito night, I cheat and we're all happy and bloated. Mostly, I take some processed foods and add more fresh things to them to lessen my guilt. For example, when I make chili I use canned chili and kidney beans, but I season my beef up and then the sauce with loads of spices and even… a dash of cocoa. You would not believe how that deepens the flavor.

As for snacking, I have a million guilty pleasures, but the guiltiest would have to be… Honey Buns. They're always always almost-stale. The cinnamon is barely recognizable in that stale swirl of bread. They're greasy, goopy with god knows what kind of "glaze" they put on it and then. Then… that icing on top. So thick you could spackle dry wall with it, but oh my god, is that the literal icing on the cake. Of course homemade cinnamon rolls are better. Of course, you can actually taste the chemicals in these atrocities.

I do not care. I want one now… and a spare for later.

What are some of the readers' guilty food pleasures?
~Try an Excerpt!~
Evan was used to distractions in the kitchen. His job was buoyed by auditory distractions: printers clicking a constant tick-tick-tick of new orders; cooks chattering about the food, their horrible mothers-in-law and how drunk they'd gotten the night before; expeditors shouting orders and the general clang-sizzle-hiss of food prep all served not only as a droned soundtrack, but also a constant distraction. You learned to work with it, if not for it.

But this distraction—Patrick's lips moving up the curve of his neck, hot breath tickling his ear right before the damp warmth of his tongue traced the shell of it; Patrick’s arm wrapped firmly around his waist, hand dipping knuckle deep into the waistband of his lounge pants, the other covering his own hand on the saut√© pan handle, "helping" him flip the asparagus over the heat—was a distraction he could not get used to.

Not that he wanted to. Not at all. 
~Meet Lynn!~ 
Lynn Charles’ love of writing dates back to her childhood, but took shape as an adult, when she found herself expressing her grief in a years' worth of journaled letters to a lifelong friend who passed unexpectedly. She has been writing works of fiction in the online fan community since 2002, where thousands of readers have enjoyed her stories.

She lives in central Ohio with her husband, two adult children and a small menagerie of animals. When she’s not writing, she can be found working at her county library, riding bikes with her husband and strolling local farmer’s markets in search of ingredients for new recipes.

Chef’s Table is her debut novel.

Connect with Lynn at

A $25 Interlude Press GC to one randomly drawn winner and digital copies of CHEF’S TABLE to ten randomly winners via Rafflecopter.  One randomly chosen host will win a $25 Interlude Press GC.
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  1. I don't believe in guilty pleasures--if you like it, what's the problem?

    Trix, vitajex(at)aol(Dot)com

  2. Yep, Trix... that's how I look at it too. As does Patrick!

  3. Guilty pleasure - cheesecake. I'll do anything I can to have a great piece of cheesecake. Yummm...

  4. I need to frame Patrick's philosophy, "I do not believe in guilty pleasures. If it brings me pleasure, why should I feel guilt?"

  5. There is an actor you and I both love that has that same guilty pleasure philosophy, as well. Hmmmmm. Anyway, my "guilty pleasure" is Pillsbury biscuits in a can. Before I was diagnosed, I used to pop a can a couple times a month to eat as biscuits, or perhaps to cut up and plop into a stew as dumplings. Nothing compares. Especially now I'm unable to eat them without getting seriously sick. Gluten Free Bisquick just doesn't compare (or hold together, lol!)