Hallo, Hallo dear hearts,
Earlier in the year, I had the joy of being a part of the publisher’s blog tour for The Chef’s Secret wherein I had a few takeaways from reading the story I wanted to re-share with you today, in case you hadn’t had the chance to visit with me when this first went live on Jorie Loves A Story! Also, I am wicked thankful I could also participate on this tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours as one of the things I had planned to do was to interview the author closer to when I shared my review – thankfully, I apparently was meant to hold off until this tour to do that and I am thankful to have a second chance to discuss The Chef’s Secret.
We enter into Scappi’s life at the time of his death – where we find Giovanni, his nephew is introducing us to how beloved his Uncle had been to everyone who had tasted his foods. It is through food where Scappi had found his destiny – to influence the taste everyone sought from him and to inspire Giovanni to better understand how to cook; to fuse flavour with the ingredients he preferred to use in his creations. It is through this overview of a lived life, we gain perspective – of how one man’s death has a larger net of sorrow – everyone in this community is grieving as if with one heart, one mind. Everywhere people are affected by the absence of this legend of a man, Bartolomeo Scappi. It is here we recognise how one man can impact so many lives through how he chose to interact and engage whilst he was alive. Yet, for Giovanni it is much, much more personal than that – for him, it is an arrow to his heart as Scappi was a surrogate father to his younger self when he needed a guiding hand in his life.
Shortly after this is announced, Giovanni is reunited with one of his dear friends, Valentino but the weight of the hour is alleviated by his Uncle’s trusted friend Francesco who was taking over the particulars in the background. From here, we meet quite a few officials of importance including the sitting Pope; a man Giovanni is not very fond of as he has changed too much of the past for his liking. The days of the lushly eloquent banquet dinners where Scappi could be inventive with his baking skills and his main dishes were cast aside for a more humbled and limited diet. It is this shared fate, Giovanni is learning will become his own as the Pope wishes for him to carry-on in Scappi’s absence as his personal chef.
It was here where you start to feel for Giovanni – he was under his Uncle tutelage yet when he is ready to ascend from his lessons and embrace the responsibilities he is inheriting, he’s cut to the quick straight out of the gate! He must yield and conform to the needs of his employer rather than to see a future cast through the creations his own heart yearns to cook. As a foodie and as a girl who loves to experiment with spice, herb, flavouring, protein, fresh farm veg and fruit and the cultural cooking heritages from the world – I can fully understand his vexations! It would be troublesome to not allow it to afflict your mind with a deeper sorrow than the loss of your Uncle.
In the background of what is happening to Giovanni, King has a natural acquiescence towards inferring what is happening in the Renaissance at the time in which we are meeting her characters. Little nods of whom might have been a friend of Scappi and little tucked in announcements of what life is like during this period of time gave a fuller grounding of the timescape, I felt. I like seeing those gestures as the novel becomes centrally important to the given century it is placed rather than feeling as if it could be a capsule of time somewhere within living history but without an identifiable marker. I felt Historical Fiction benefits from this kind of dedication as you get to tuck closer to how people are living – seeing how their lives are different from our own and knowing exactly why those differences are visible based on what their doing as we read the story.
-quoted from my review of The Chef’s Secret
This is a very interestingly writ novel – it moves not only as a time shift through different stages of the lives of the inspirational chef for Giovanni but it delves deeper into Scappi’s own influences and the life he led himself. If your a reader who loves culinary arts & delights, this novel has a heap of lovely mentions for the foodie soul and spirit, too!
I hope after you’ve had the chance to digest the information Ms King shares within this conversation you’ll know if this is a novel you will be able to read yourself and/or mention it to someone else you know will appreciate knowing about the book being published.
Be sure to brew your favourite cuppa
& settle into a comfy chair whilst you enjoy this interview!
The Chef's Secret (Interview)
by Crystal King
A captivating novel of Renaissance Italy detailing the mysterious life of Bartolomeo Scappi, the legendary chef to several popes and author of one of the bestselling cookbooks of all time, and the nephew who sets out to discover his late uncle’s secrets—including the identity of the noblewoman Bartolomeo loved until he died.
When Bartolomeo Scappi dies in 1577, he leaves his vast estate—properties, money, and his position—to his nephew and apprentice Giovanni. He also gives Giovanni the keys to two strongboxes and strict instructions to burn their contents. Despite Scappi’s dire warning that the information concealed in those boxes could put Giovanni’s life and others at risk, Giovanni is compelled to learn his uncle’s secrets. He undertakes the arduous task of decoding Scappi’s journals and uncovers a history of deception, betrayal, and murder—all to protect an illicit love affair.
As Giovanni pieces together the details of Scappi’s past, he must contend with two rivals who have joined forces—his brother Cesare and Scappi’s former protégé, Domenico Romoli, who will do anything to get his hands on the late chef’s recipes.
With luscious prose that captures the full scale of the sumptuous feasts for which Scappi was known, The Chef’s Secret serves up power, intrigue, and passion, bringing Renaissance Italy to life in a delectable fashion.
Places to find the book:
Also by this author: The Chef's Secret
Published by Atria Books
on 12th February, 2019
Length: 9 hours and 36 minutes (unabridged)
Converse via: #TheChefsSecret, #HistNov and #HistFic
+ #Renaissance #Cookery with #BartolomeoScappi
Available Formats: Hardcover, Audiobook & Ebook