When it comes to competitive cooking, Max Lunden is no stranger to winning…though he’s never been great at working with a team. A master chef—and major hunk—he’s traveled the world, picking up new cooking techniques as well as beautiful women. But when the prodigal chef returns home to his family’s Greenwich Village restaurant, he discovers one too many cooks in the kitchen—and she’s every bit as passionate as he is…
Juliet Cavanaugh used to have a crush on Max when she was just a teenager, hanging out at Lunden & Sons Tavern, hoping to catch a glimpse of the owner’s oldest, and hottest, son. Now a chef herself—competing in the biggest culinary contest in the country—Juliet will be cooking side by side with the one man she’s always admired…and desired. But despite their simmering attraction, Juliet is determined to keep her cool—no matter how hot it gets…
Favorite Quote: Jules was so used to guarding her heart; she’d forgotten what it was like to be around someone who had no shame, no fear about what he wanted.
Too hot to Touch is the first in the Rising Star Chef Trilogy by foodie/author, Louisa Edwards. I’ve read her previous trilogy and really liked it so I was anxiously waiting for Too Hot to Touch.
Max has been gone for several years, roaming the globe trying to become a better chef by apprenticing himself to local masters. He is called home to help his family’s restaurant compete in a reality-competition show that would boost the fading restaurant’s business. Juliet, or Jules as she prefers to be called, is Max’s brother Danny’s best friend and their parents’ surrogate daughter. She’s also not completely over her crush on Max she’s had since she was a teenager.
From Go, it’s clear that Jules and Max have chemistry, and he is not shy about wanting to explore that. But Jules is still recovering from past experiences with getting involved with someone she works with. Not to mention the fact that Max will only be around for a month, then he’s off on another adventure. But boy, is Max persistent. And then the secrets start to present themselves: Why did Jules leave home and move in with the Lunden’s? Why is Max’s dad not participating in the competition even though he’s the owner of Lunden’s Tavern? Why is Danny so furious with Max for leaving?
For the same reason I love watching “Top Chef,” I enjoy reading about Louisa Edwards characters. It seems like chefs see the world from a different point of view. It’s fascinating to read and see how they operate. They’re very smart and quick on their feet. They’re very motivated and ambitious, which is completely different from me, whose only ambition is to make my children laugh and read as many books as possible.
Jules and Max are combustible. Their chemistry is obvious and inevitable. Jules was very wary of relationships; her only real lasting relationships are with Danny, his parents and their restaurant. Everyone else in her life has left her behind. And Max is perpetually on the move. Will Max want to stay and give up his nomadic lifestyle? Will Jules ask for what she wants?
I really enjoyed this book. A lot of times, the storyline is such that I just want to get to the kissing parts, but this book is well rounded. The parts of the book about the competition were interesting and well–written. I wanted more! I especially wanted more about Claire Durand and Kane Slater, the secondary romance in the book. If you’ve read Ms. Edward’s previous trilogy, Claire and Kane’s story will be featured in the background of all three books in this series, like Frankie and Jess’s story. I am buzzing with anticipation for them. Claire is the editor for Delicieux, a cooking magazine, and Kane is a rock star. Both are judges for the RSC and Claire is the older woman who is trying to deny their mutual attraction. It’s going to be fun to watch her come undone.