Gina Foxton is the host of “Fresh Start,” a local television cooking show in Georgia. Her boyfriend/producer Scott has been busily making her over by amping up her makeup and persuading her to wear sexy clothes. Gina believes it's the food that matters; Scott is convinced that the cooking and recipes are inconsequential and that it's all about the star's image --- and he has big plans for Gina and himself. She is struggling with the frustrating budget issues (such as cooking with fake cheese instead of cheddar, and substituting canned milk for cream) and exhausted from working so much.
Gina's life takes a nasty double nosedive the day she discovers that her sponsor, Wiley Bickerstaff, is dumping her show. Wiley has always been such a huge fan, so she's puzzled. Then she finds out the truth: Wiley is now refusing to sponsor “Fresh Start” because Scott has been sleeping with Wiley's wife. Gina is despondent and furious --- and she is also soon-to-be completely unemployed. What will become of her? Will she have to (shudder) move back in with her mother? In the meantime, she must endure her colorful sister/roommate Lisa's "comfort" and advice.
When Gina arrives on her show's set after a terrible night, she discovers that an executive from The Cooking Channel has flown out from New York City to chat with Scott about the possibility of a national cooking program starring Gina. Alas, the network big shot, Barry Adelman, is also interested in another local cooking star, hunky Tate "Kill It and Grill It" Moody, who has gathered quite a large (mostly female) fan club for his fishing/hunting/cooking show “Vittles.”
Gina is not familiar with Tate. When she meets him, she is struck by his good looks, but they clash right off the bat. Yet this is just the prelude to some major conflict, since Adelman has big ideas for a "Food Fight" pitting the two cooking stars against each other. His plans include a reality show competition in which the winner will gain a fabulous Cooking Channel contract for his or her own show. Adelman's first promotional strategy is publicity shots with Tate and Gina in a boxing ring, clad in skimpy satin boxing trunks and tank tops --- an idea both parties detest.
DEEP DISH is a delectable froth of a read from New York Times bestselling author Mary Kay Andrews, reminiscent of a truly great romantic comedy film, with witty conversation, a believable romance between two endearing individuals and laugh-out-loud secondary characters. I was hooked by Gina and her predicament from the opening scene. I totally fell in love with Tate's live-in companion, Moonpie, and enjoyed the creativity of the cooking scenes. After reading this book, I felt like I had taken a satisfying vacation with hilarious friends.
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on December 29, 2010