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The Devil Wears Chef Whites

By Staff | Apr 8, 2008

My obsession with “Kitchen Nightmares” and “Hell’s Kitchen,” not to mention “Top Chef” when Chef Gordon Ramsay’s not on, has taken its toll. Not only do my friends tease me about my inappropriate crush on the hot-headed celebrity chef, but now I’m going out of my way to find books to feed my need to read about making the perfect salmon nicoise and roasted monkfish, both things I’ve never eaten and don’t plan to in the near future.

So since I don’t cook, I’ve turned to looking for fiction books set in restaurants. It was with this in mind that I headed down to my local bookstore on the appropriate Tuesday to pick up a copy of Heather and Rose MacDowell’s “Turning Tables,” which takes working in a restaurant and gives it the “Devil Wears Prada” spin.

Erin Edwards was a marketing executive until downsizing ended her job. Now someone who used to dine at the latest ‘it’ Manahattan hotspot is working at one thanks to a family friend — and seeing how the other half lives.

A would-be actor who is also a waiter at the up-and-coming Roulette, takes Erin under his wing, determined to teach her the ropes to help turn her from flop into fantastic. Erin soon learns how to deal with exacting customers, a demanding and feuding owner and his wife, a perpetually cranky chef and all the rest of the waitstaff, not to mention the dog her best friend dumped on her.

Erin’s soon becoming a competent waitress and crushing on one of the assistant chefs in the kitchen, Phil, despite the fact that generally the waitstaff and chefs do not mix. A handsome customer who also happens to be a television producer enters the mix, though Erin feels out of his league. As Erin deals with romantic complications, a critical review shakes her foundation at work and she finds herself in hot water with both the owner and the chef. Could Erin soon be out of a job?

A great addition to the ‘wicked boss’ genre, “Turning Tables” is sure to be relatable to anyone who has ever had to wait tables, whether for hip eateries or family restaurants, and people who watch way too many shows related to cooking. The authors are identical twins who have worked at restaurants so you know it’s realistic too. This book just might make you tip well next time you eat out.

“Turning Tables” is published by Dial Press. It is $24 and 324 pages long.


Contact Amy at amendenhall@graffitiwv.com‘>amendenhall@graffitiwv.com