Book Review: Chef’s Choice by TJ Alexander

Chef's Choice. Image courtesy Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Chef's Choice. Image courtesy Atria/Emily Bestler Books /

For some, romance books are an escape from reality while others enjoy reading about their favorite things. For us Guilty Eaters, it’s all about the food which is why Chef’s Choice was an easy pick to feature.

Written by TJ Alexander, this book is the second book in their Chef’s Kiss series with this book following the roommate of the MC from book 1. Luna is a trans woman who is frankly not having a great time and the romance she has with Jean-Pierre.

While this concept might sound like it wouldn’t lend itself to Guilty Eats, you might be surprised when we get into the plot of the story. Of course with two trans leads, there are some content warnings including transphobia and strained familial relationships.

If you’re a fan of romance books and cooking with queer characters and a surprisingly complex challenge baked in there, then I think you might enjoy Chef’s Choice by TJ Alexander.

Chef’s Choice by TJ Alexander is a queer romance with cooking at its core.

As mentioned, Chef’s Choice is the second book in TJ Alexander’s Chef’s Kiss series yet you don’t have to read the first book. I will say that if you do, you’ll get more context but that’s up to you. You get Simone and Ray’s romance in the first book as they do a significant role in this book.

Chef’s Choice follows Luna, a trans woman with a seemingly great life before getting fired. She tries to go and vent to Simone yet is interrupted by Jean-Pierre. He offers her 1,000 dollars to be his fake girlfriend for a few minutes yet it takes a turn when his grandfather cons her into helping JP with his “cooking challenge.”

We find out JP’s family is made up of massive famous chefs while he’s just not. He frankly doesn’t have any ideas about what he wants to do yet to inherit his grandfather’s empire. Of course, he can’t just get the empire. He has to cook this feast of epic proportions for his grandfather and Luna gets tasked with helping him. The issue is that these two aren’t chefs or even, really home cooks so it goes from there.

From a foodie perspective, this book talked so much about food. We watched as these two leaned on Simone and Ray to help them learn the recipes for the challenges. Some of the food they were tasked with cooking were caviar royale, duck leg confit with foie gras terrine, braised saddle of rabbit, and floating islands de fruits. As you can see, JP’s grandfather set him up to have a massive challenge in front of him.

We also saw JP cook mac n cheese for Luna and even, Luna muse about the greatness of Wawa which as a Sheetz fan, I couldn’t bare to hear. Even though the food didn’t play as large of a role as within book 1, I do think this was a solid one for my fellow foodies.

As far as romances go, Chef’s Choice was not my favorite. I really hated how these two talked to each other as they were often incredibly rude and mean to each other. Seeing their treatment of each other made it hard to root for them. However, I pushed through and ended up being happy for these two yet the way these two acted towards each other upset me more than anything.

Regardless if you’re a foodie who loves casually queer romances, I think you’ll enjoy Chef’s Choice. I would recommend picking up Chef’s Kiss first, though. I think you’ll get a lot more knowing Simone and Ray’s story. Either way, I think you can’t go wrong with either.

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Chef’s Choice by TJ Alexander is out now wherever books are sold. 

Will you be trying out Chef’s Choice for Pride Month? Share with us, Guilty Eaters!