Laura Patterson is an American studying art history in Rome and after several disappointing dates with Italian men she decides on her friend's advice to only go out with a man that can cook. Tommaso is incredibly handsome and knows it! He's used to making many conquests amongst the female tourists and keeps photos of them all in his wardrobe. He is instantly taken with Laura, and whilst busy flirting manages to tell her he's a chef at a leading restaurant, which would be fine but he's only a waiter and even the pot washer gets to boss him around! Tommaso finds he has to rely on his friend Bruno to keep up the charade. Bruno is an amazing chef but lacks the natural charm and good looks that his friend has in spades, however, cooking for Laura is a labour of love and he uses his food to demonstrate his feelings by tempting and seducing her. When Laura discovers their dishonesty she rebounds into her older, controlling lecturer whilst Bruno discovers himself and further cooking skills in the mountains.
A retelling of the Cyrano de Bergerac story but with food! As with The Wedding Officer, the descriptions of food (even offal!) is gorgeous. It's a sexy and light hearted read and the described effects of eating tartufo were hilarious. Some of the imagery was a bit disturbing - I have no desire to be spit roasted, or rubbed with rosemary - but each to their own! The slight downer was that Laura was a bit weak and thinly drawn, apart from being beautiful and a complete foodie I couldn't really see why she was so special. Benedetta was far more interesting and substantial and a little bit of me wanted her and Bruno to live happily ever after! Bruno was okay, but again a bit whiny and weak in parts - I just wanted him to get on with it and either 'fess up to Laura or get a life. I felt the mafia sub-plot got lost along the way, it seemed a big deal at first and then disappeared and what happened to Carlotta and her family?
Enjoyable in a different way to his other novel and again a good read, but still had something missing for me.