Book Reviews

Book Review: Food Whore by Jessica Tom

food whore 2

Title: Food Whore: A Novel of Dining and Deceit

Author: Jessica Tom

Published: 2015

Pages: 352

Genre: Fiction, Food and Drink

Format: Book borrowed from the library

My rating:  3.5/5

Review:

“Food whore (n.) A person who will do anything for food.
Fresh out of college, Tia Monroe has every intention of taking the New York City restaurant scene by storm. But after a coveted internship goes up in smoke, Tia’s suddenly just another food lover in the big city.
Yet everything changes when Michael Saltz, a legendary New York Times restaurant critic, lets Tia in on a career-ending secret: he’s lost his sense of taste. Now he wants Tia to serve as his palate, ghostwriting his reviews. In return he promises her lavish meals, a boundless cache of designer clothing, and the opportunity of a lifetime. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, Tia agrees.
Within weeks, Tia’s world transforms into one of glamour and luxury: four-star dinners, sexy celebrity chefs, and an unlimited expense account at Bergdorf Goodman. Tia loves every minute of it…until she sees her words in print and Michael Saltz taking all the credit. As the veneer of extravagance wears thin and her secret identity begins to crumble, Tia is faced with what it means to truly succeed. In a city where “making it” is the ultimate goal, Tia will have to decide: how far is she willing to go for the life she craves?”

Imagine Devil Wears Prada meets Restaurant Wars. Not a bad comparison whatsoever, only how I conceptualized the storyline at first. Of course I can add that this story is tantalizing and melts in your mouth 🙂 and I wouldn’t be lying. As the story progressed I could anticipate the transformation unfold and the downfall come to a peak for the young chef. It makes me think about the sacrifices we sometimes make for power/success/our voice to be heard and how isolating that may feel. Can you say “Let me know when your entire life goes up in smoke, then it’s time for a promotion?”

Knowing very little about the food industry and basing most of that off of being a diner and a Food Network fanatic, I found it refreshing to learn the intricacies of the restaurant world. Who knew about the power of suggestion with reviews and the personne extraordinaire? The different angles are covered for the entire experience – from consumer to wait staff to chef to coat check to reviewer and around again. I have personally never dined at a 3 or 4-star restaurant but I can only imagine what skill and intention behind them that have earned them (hopefully 😉 ) that ranking.

There are several moments throughout the novel where I was curious how my dress and mannerisms would be taken in a more upscale setting. Most of the times, I feel that I am naive about those situations, however, I do think they happen. I think that Tia had naivety as well as an eagerness to prove herself that obtain the American Dream – don’t we all? But as we can all probably guess, too much of a good thing can turn into something bad. This story is a compilation of lessons of how our actions lead to other actions which can end up spiraling in a direction we didn’t anticipate or hoped wouldn’t lead. A quick read that gives hard-hitting reminders of what’s important and staying true to who you are.

Read Food Whore if you like the themes of:

  • Devil Wears Prada
  • Restaurants
  • Post-Grad/Grad School
  • Relationships/Friendships
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