Verant, Samantha. The Spice Master at Bistro Exotic. Berkley, 2023. 352 pp. ISBN 978-0593546000. $17.00.
It’s always interesting to see how things trend in entertainment, in subject or theme. This is one of several novels set in Paris revolving around food I’ve read in the last few months. Kate is a woman on a culinary mission to open an authentic Parisian restaurant in spite of the location’s cursed reputation and the sneery son of the landlord, Charles, a chef in his own right who doesn’t believe she can pull it off. His mother, wildly eccentric Garrance, offers to provide both business advice and spice stock from her exotic indoor garden; oddly, any changes Kate makes at Garrance’s request result in tremendous success…
Full of romance and intrigue, The Spice Master at Bistro Exotic offers an authentic and exquisite French setting and decadent, delicious food writing, within the framework of a magical realism story. The novel includes recipes featured in the narrative, with clear instructions and ingredients that are fairly easy to source, prefaced by a note about philosophy (a recipe is a guideline!) and substitutions. They are mouthwatering and inspiring.
I received a free advance reader’s review copy of #TheSpiceMasterAtBistroExotic from #NetGalley.