Check It Out: Stories seasoned with flavor and love

Daily Pilot

Some of Orange County's top chefs have been serving up tasty gourmet treats and sharing some of their cooking secrets during the library's "What's Cooking" series. Foodies looking to satisfy their cravings with an added course of good fiction need look no further. Here are a few tales full of flavor for those with a taste for delectable culinary romances.

Television chef Gina Foxton is ready for her big break in Mary Kay Andrews' "Deep Dish." Her show, "Fresh Start," is on the brink of cancellation after her producer is caught having an affair with the wife of the show's major sponsor.

Unfortunately for Gina, the producer is also her boyfriend. So news that a national cooking channel is interested in adding her to their lineup is more than welcome. However she's not the only consideration.

Tate Moody, hunky star of a popular hunting, fishing and cooking show, is also in the running.

The Cooking Channel executives pit the two chefs against each other, turning their competition into a reality show. "Deep Dish" is a laugh-filled riot packed with Southern charm.

Debut author Jennifer Ross takes Southern belle Ansley Waller from her throne in Dallas and transports her to New York City in "The Icing on the Cupcake." Ansley's fiancé has called off their engagement. Rather than continue to face the embarrassment of what's happened, she relocates to the Big Apple to stay with a grandmother she's never met.

Ansley has much to prove to herself and to her newly acquainted grandmother. She turns to baking and decides to open her own cupcake bakery. She creates batch after batch of aptly named goods while trying to heal her broken heart and move on. Each chapter ends with a scrumptious cupcake recipe.

In "Table Manners" by Mia King, Deidre McIntosh has created her own line of cakes and cookies. Now the company backing her new brand may drop her due to a lack of enthusiasm with the focus groups taste- testing her baked goods. To top it off, her high-society boyfriend has reconnected with his ex-fianceé because they travel in the same social circles. Deidre has to find a way to ensure that her anxiety and insecurities don't get the best of her. "Table Manners" is a delightful sequel to King's "Good Things."

Elena Alvarez is offered the opportunity of a lifetime. Movie director and restaurant owner Julian Linswood wants her to run the kitchen of a new restaurant he's opening in Aspen, Col. Relocating to Aspen, the restaurant gives Elena a chance to escape her haunted past where as a teenager she was the sole survivor in a terrible accident that took the lives of her boyfriend and several family members. Is she capable of letting go of the past to start over and perhaps find love again? Find out as Elena discovers "The Lost Recipe for Happiness" by Barbara O'Neal.

Widowed celebrity chef Augusta "Gus" Simpson is rapidly approaching her 50 birthday. Gus is thrown for a loop when the ratings of her cooking show drop and network executives bring in a new co-host, Carmen Vega, to spice up the program. Gus has to share the spotlight with this former Miss Spain and even though Carmen has a culinary degree Gus is less than impressed with this young Spanish hottie. Gus and Carmen along with an entire cast of characters discover new relationships in Kate Jacobs' "Comfort Food." Check out any of these delightful indulgences and more at the library.

Tickets are still available for the June, July and August "What's Cooking" events at the Central Library, 1000 Avocado Ave.

Visit the library's website at www.newportbeachlibrary.org for more information regarding the series and to view some of the recipes and photos of the earlier cooking events.

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