Now that college is over, English graduate Ben Cook is on the job hunt looking for something…anything…related to his passion for reading and writing. But interview after interview, hiring committee after hiring committee, Ben soon learns getting the dream job won’t be as easy as he thought. Proofreading? Journalism? Copywriting? Not enough experience. It turns out he doesn’t even have enough experience to be a garbage collector! But when Ben stumbles upon a “Now Hiring—No Experience Necessary” sign outside a restaurant, he jumps at the chance to land his first job. Plus, he can keep looking for a writing job in the meantime. He’s actually not so bad in the kitchen, but he will have to pass a series of cooking tests to prove he’s got the culinary skills to stay on full-time. But it’s only temporary…right?
When Ben begins developing a crush on Liam, one of the other super dreamy chefs at the restaurant, and when he starts ditching his old college friends and his old writing job plans, his career path starts to become much less clear.
This graphic novel packs a lot into its 125 pages. It’s easy to like the protagonist Ben, who stumbles into a chef-in-training job at a vegetarian restaurant. He’s hard working and earnest, and puts a lot of heart into each of the cooking challenges, even though he intended to find a publishing job after graduating with an English degree.
Ben is supported by a strong cast of secondary characters, who serve as excellent foils, but I found the restaurant owner/head chef to be overly abrasive. I understand that this is 100% accurate when it comes to head chefs, but having him scream at Ben over nothing added a level of stress into an otherwise lowkey and low-angst narrative.
BUT, Chef did have an adorable pig with a refined palate named Watson, so I suppose he can be forgiven for being grumpy. AND, Ben has the support of dreamy second-in-command Liam, who offers advice and guidance every step of the way.
I would recommend Chef’s Kiss. It’s classified as New Adult, but I found it to be appropriate for the YA crowd as well. There’s minimal profanity and no explicit content. There are plenty of lessons about being true to yourself, and respecting friends. There is plenty of cooking, as would be expected from a book that takes place in a restaurant, and the meals prepared made me so hungry. I wanted to eat every single thing Ben made!
I received a digital ARC of this book from Oni Press/NetGalley