Title: The Cook
Author: Wayne Macauley
Genre: General Fiction
Power through service, says Head Chef. It’s one of the first lessons taught at Cook School, where troubled youths learn to be master chefs by bowing to decadence and whim, by offering up a part of themselves on every plate. It’s a motto Zac takes to heart. A teenage boy with a difficult past, he throws himself into the world and work of haute cuisine. He has dreams of a future, to be the greatest chef the world has seen. Zac thinks he’s taken his first steps when he becomes House Cook for a wealthy family. Never mind that the family may seem less than appreciative. Or refined. Or deserving. Power through service. Blackly funny and deliciously satirical, The Cook feeds our hunger to know what goes on in the kitchen, while skewering our culture of food worship.
The first thing that hit me about this book was the punctuation – there isn’t any – a pet hate of mine. I have been known to not read the book and strike an author off my ‘to read’ list if they dare do it. God gave us full stops, commas, quotation marks and the rest for a reason – to use – for clarification and understanding. BUT – there was something about the story that kept me reading despite my scratching my head and reading a paragraph more than once to try and figure out the flow. THE COOK is not really about ‘food’ a la Master Chef, it is not really about ‘bad boy made good’ a la Jamie Oliver; what it IS is a look at food as an indicator of money and class and the snobbery and pretentiousness that accompanies it . The sort of person who sits down on a park bench to eat ‘fish and chips’ is far inferior to a person who sits down in a fancy restaurant and dines on ‘poisson frit avec des frites’. Same dish but with foreign name it sounds posh! Be warned, the story is very dark in spots especially the harrowing, stomach turning, blood drenched lamb slaughter scene. The scene however, was necessary to the plot as budding cooks needed to be aware of where their food comes from. Yet despite all this, there was just a nugget of compulsion to keep on reading just to see where the author was going with the story and the unexpected twist at the end is the reward for making it all the way there.
Rating: C – Above average. Was very readable and enjoyable
For more about the author – Click Here