THE CHEF’S SECRET (Atria), author, Crystal King’s follow-up novel to the hugely successful, THE FEAST OF SORROW will be published tomorrow. It’s a delicious historical novel about a famous Italian Renaissance chef, Bartolomeo Scappi, who was the cuoco segreto (private cook) to several Popes. Once again, King’s novel cover is a spectacular juicy buffet that’ll make one’s mouth water.
The stewards warning that lives were at stake lingered. My uncle was not one to be so melodramic, so his words gave me pause.
THE CHEF’S SECRET is also a mystery, full of danger, passion and a view into 16th century Italy. It will have you at once, starving to eat from the sumptuous banquets being served, to reeling over from the significant history and enjoying a tale worthy of Popes.
When Bartolomeo Scappi dies, his kitchen and recipes are inherited by his nephew, Giovanni Brioschi. He also inherits his strongbox filled with journals and told to destroy them. Of course he doesn’t and readers are swept into story of deception, intrigue, betrayal and murder – all to cover up a love affair, which would destroy many lives.
The story alternates between a young Bartomeleo Scappi and his nephew Govanni. The narrative and plot are swift with complex characters worthy of an opera. THE CHEF’S SECRET has been compared in scope and complexity to Dan Brown’s bestsellers. I for one, think it’s much better, certainly more delicious.
There is another exciting element available: A digital companion cookbook filled with recipes of tortellini, fried chicken, macaroni, fruit pies, chicken soup, meatballs, fritters, napoleons, biscotti … the list goes on, until you hear your stomach growling. On the other hand, there are dishes foreign to most of our modern day palettes, including hedgehog, boar, porcupine, calves eyes and others. Our culinary education from that era continues with samples of history: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and rosewater were ingredients which were expensive and used to show off one’s wealth. Sugar was also frequently used, but it was a costly addition, enabling a noble to exhibit their riches. Techniques at that time included washing meat in wine, boiling meat before roasting and today we don’t cook over an open fire.
After reading THE CHEF’S SECRET novel, I took a look at the cookbook and found some recipes I could actually make. One in particular that caught my interest was a Pumpkin Torte. I’m off to try my culinary skills.
THE CHEF’S SECRET will be published tomorrow.
Who Is Crystal King?
I am a novelist, editor, professor, social media professional, and critical & creative thinker. My work as a writer is the thread that ties my broad experience together.
My debut novel, FEAST OF SORROW, is about Marcus Gavius Apicius, the man whose name is on the world’s oldest known cookbook. It was published by Touchstone Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, on April 25, 2017. My work is represented by Amaryah Orenstein at GO Literary.
I have taught writing, creativity and social media at UMass Boston, Boston University, Mass College of Art, and Harvard Extension School. I often teach classes on social media for authors at Grub Street, one of the most amazing writing communities in the country.
My husband, my shining star, is a French-Acadian/Italian who is a fantastic chef and visual artist. My kitties, Nero and Merlin, supply us with enough white fur to make ourselves winter coats each year. Kidding on that last fact, but technically, it could be true.
I also work in the world of social media, marketing, and community management. Note that the statements included here on this site do not reflect the opinions or attitudes of any of my employers.
Any questions? Check out Crystal’s website http://www.crystalking.com
Thanks to Crystal’s publicist, Megan Beatie we are lucky to have one copy to giveaway. Just tell us your favorite Italian dish. We’ll chose a winner soon. Good luck.
FYI: Bookclubs may want to include a recipe or two from the cookbook when meeting to discuss THE CHEF’S SECRET.
GIVEAWAY: USA only please.