Author: Samantha Verant
Format: Kindle Edition, 348 pages
Published: September 8th 2020 by Berkley
Rating: 🍷🍷🍷🍷.5 out of 5 Wine Glasses
A disgraced chef rediscovers her passion for food and her roots in this stunning novel rich in culture and full of delectable recipes.French-born American chef Sophie Valroux had one dream: to be part of the 1% of female chefs running a Michelin-starred restaurant. From spending summers with her grandmother, who taught her the power of cooking and food, to attending the Culinary Institute of America, Sophie finds herself on the cusp of getting everything she's dreamed of.
Until her career goes up in flames.Sabotaged by a fellow chef, Sophie is fired, leaving her reputation ruined and confidence shaken. To add fuel to the fire, Sophie learns that her grandmother has suffered a stroke and takes the red-eye to France. There, Sophie discovers the simple home she remembers from her childhood is now a luxurious château, complete with two restaurants and a vineyard. As Sophie tries to reestablish herself in the kitchen, she comes to understand the lengths people will go to for success and love, and how dreams can change.
"This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all, have fun." - Julia Child
The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux is a charming contemporary romance that begins in New York City but takes readers to small town in France where one woman must learn to trust herself again. I'm not usually the biggest fan of contemporary romance, but the synopsis of this book intrigued me since our long-awaited trip to Paris had to be canceled this year 😭 and because I have a passion for cooking myself. It also gave me a chance to brush up on my (very limited) French.
The story follows Sophie, a French-born American chef with the dream of one day being the head chef of a Michelin-starred restaurant. Right away readers are embraced in the struggle of being a woman in a male-dominated field. Sophie has to work harder, longer, and better than her male co-workers. Just when she thinks that she is getting a little bit closer to achieving her goal, Sophie is sabotaged by a jealous ex-boyfriend, resulting in not only the loss of her job but her reputation as well. Depressed, disheartened, and ready to give up on her dreams she hides away from the world....until she receives a call that her grand-mère in France has suffered a stroke and needs her help. Sophie doesn't know what to expect when she arrives at her family's French château, but it isn't the grand establishment worthy to rival any NYC restaurant that she walks up to. Nor is the surly driver the same boy she remembered from her childhood.
Author Samantha Verant weaves a rich tale of rediscovery, reconnecting, resilience, and a dash of romance in The Secret French Recipes of Sophie Valroux that was an absolute delight to embark on. With a family saga, second chance romance, and delectable delicacies I loved every minute of the tale. Sophie was an authentic character that experiences many highs and lows throughout the story, I couldn't help rooting for her. The château staff was fun and supportive, adding levity to the plot, and her grand-mère a true gem. I could easily imagine the backdrop of Southwest France with it's lavender fields and local markets while reading. I enjoyed this book so much that I purchased a paperback copy for my shelves, and I can't wait to try some of the recipes found in it myself. 😊 A heart-warming tale with an enchanting setting that I recommend.