Bread and Butter by Michelle Widgen

Bread and Butter
Michelle Wildgen

Anchor Books

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“…loveable characters who will inspire foodies to keep turning pages…”

Three brothers plus two upscale restaurants—does it equal a recipe for disaster?

In Bread and Butter we’re introduced to three brothers who love everything about food. Leo and Britt, only a year apart, have operated Winesap for over a decade in their aging, industrial hometown just outside of Philadelphia. It’s been hard work educating the local palate through trial and error, but at last they feel they’ve reached a nice balance with their established clientele and are financially successful. Britt, formerly in public relations, takes care of the front and keeps things running smoothly and tastefully, but he puts on his best face for a beautiful and sophisticated regular gourmand, Camille. Leo, a divorcee married to his job, takes care of the paperwork and makes sure his hardworking staff is happy, especially their capable chef Thea, a single mom. Unfortunately their flighty pastry chef Hector has become rather tired of their patrons’ favorite chocolate cake and has flown the coop.

Enter baby brother Harry. He returns home after years of graduate school, failed love affairs, and working in a restaurant on an island in Lake Michigan. Harry wants to start his own place to show off his epicurean tastes. Leasing a run-down building a few neighborhoods over in an area on the cusp of being re-gentrified, Harry envisions a hip new eatery that will help his hometown make a comeback. Once Hector defects to work at Harry’s place and Britt is convinced his little brother’s idea isn’t as crazy as it seems and becomes a partner, the three brothers find themselves at odds—financially, creatively, and romantically. Can sibling rivalry ruin a fine dining experience?

Bread and Butter is jam-packed with the minutiae of the restaurant business, but it doesn’t come across as a Food Network documentary. Wildgen creates frail but loveable characters who will inspire foodies to keep turning pages even while their hungry stomachs are rumbling.

Reviewer: Cindy A. Matthews