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The Chef's Secret

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4.21  ·  Rating details ·  81 ratings  ·  59 reviews
A captivating novel of Renaissance Italy detailing the mysterious life of Bartolomeo Scappi, the legendary chef to several popes and author of one of the bestselling cookbooks of all time, and the nephew who sets out to discover his late uncle’s secrets—including the identity of the noblewoman Bartolomeo loved until he died.

When Bartolomeo Scappi dies in 1577, he leaves hi
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Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 12th 2019 by Atria Books
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4.21  · 
Rating details
 ·  81 ratings  ·  59 reviews


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Jenna
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical-fic
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What a wonderfully delectable novel! You know those books you enjoy so much that they just linger with you? The mere mention of them, of the author, the slightest memory of the characters or the cover, just makes you feel all squiggly-happy inside? That is how Crystal King's novel Feast of Sorrow: A Novel of Ancient Rome is for me, and so I was delighted to learn she has a new book! As much as I wanted to read it, I was also ambivalent, worried that Ms. King couldn't possibly write another novel
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Ace
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Crystal King has a knack for writing about food that leaves you salivating and hungry for snacks at every turn and I absolutely love her second novel which is set in 1577.

Bartolemeo Scappi, papal chef to Pope Gregory dies and his nephew and apprentice, Giovanni, takes his place in the Vatican’s kitchens. Giovanni inherits everything from his uncle including his job and his journals and letters. From there a mystery unfolds revealing past secrets of his family, dramatic love affairs, mysterious
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Emma
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Review to follow!
Heather Webb
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A veritable feast for the senses, The Chef's Secret is part mystery, part love story, and all sumptuous sixteenth century Italy. This tale of one of the world's first celebrity chefs--Bartolomeo Scappi, a DaVinci of Renaissance cuisine--sent me on a quest to know more, and to my kitchen to experiment-- a sign of a great historical novel. Readers will delight in a plot as juicy as Scappi's braised beef!
Susan Johnson
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
This book was just so much fun to read. The story was set in the 1500's in the Vatican kitchens and featured the head chef and his nephew. The food descriptions were just mind blowing. Some of them were mouth watering and some of them were ones I would never eat. The artistry was unbelievable. I love the author even had Michelangelo making sugar molds for a banquet.

Bartol0meo was the head chef of the Vatican when he passed away. He left everything, his wealth and recipes, to his nephew who wa
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Bandit
Dec 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slight trepidation going on because, you know, food. Just makes me think of all the food shows I’ve watched (never by choice except for the delight that is the Great British Bake Off) and have never enjoyed. In fact the only enjoyable thing about them has always been for me the historical factoids behind the recipes. So I figured maybe it’ll be like that but in a book form. But actually this turned out to be a pleasant surprise in that, while food is mentioned often and in copious amounts and ne ...more
Annette
Bartolomeo Scappi (1500-1577) was a legendary Italian chef to several popes and author of one of the bestselling cookbooks of all time. Not much is known about him. The known facts, such as him dedicating his cookbook to his nephew and apprentice, Giovanni Brioschi, and bequeathing some jewelry to a sister named Catherina, are incorporated into the story. And all the popes he worked for and are involved in this story are true.

After the death of Bartolomeo in 1577 Rome, his nephew discovers Barto
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Karen Kay
I received this from netgalley.com in exchange for a review.

Set in the 1500's with duo timelines, Giovanni pieces together the details of Scappi’s past and he must contend with two rivals who have joined forces—his brother Cesare and Scappi’s former protégé, Domenico Romoli, who will do anything to get his hands on the late chef’s recipes.


4☆
Davida Chazan
Talk about luscious literature! Crystal King’s new novel, set in 16th century Italy, is a work of culinary, biographical fiction about Bartolomeo Scappi, a man who was chef to popes and royalty, and the legacy he hands down to his protégé, Giovanni. “The Chef’s Secret” is a must read for lovers of historical fiction, and you can find out why in my newest #bookreview on my blog now. https://tcl-bookreviews.com/2019/02/1...
Whitney Scharer
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is delicious in every sense of the word! I (smartly) brought it to read while I was on vacation, and spent the entire time drooling over the gorgeously written food and cooking scenes. Bartolomeo Scappi was a chef to several popes, and prepared lavish feasts for them at a scope that is almost unimaginable to us today. Equally interesting were the depictions of the simple food Scappi and his nephew were made to prepare for the more austere popes. The story alternates between two timelin ...more
Jennifer S. Brown
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This dual timeline novel of two chefs--Bartolomeo Scappi (a real life famous Renaissance chef) and his protege Giovanni--is a fast-paced read. I loved immersing myself in the 16th century and the papal politics. The two chefs cook for popes and the intrigue of that world is fascinating. The heart of this story is the secrets Bartolomeo kept and Giovanni's quest to uncover them, through Bartolomeo's coded journals. At the same time, we learn of both Bartolomeo's romance and Giovanni's. There are ...more
Anjali Duva
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Exquisitely researched, this page-turning story has it all: mystery, intrigue, history, gastronomy, and just the right amount of romance. Immerse yourself in Renaissance Italy with Crystal King's second excellent historical novel. A treat.
Linda Zagon
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Linda’s Book Obsession Reviews “The Chef’s Secret” by Crystal King, Atria Books, February 12, 2019

Crystal King, Author of “The Chef’s Secret” has written an intriguing, entertaining, captivating and unique novel. The Genres for this story are Fiction , Historical Fiction with the author’s interpretation, and Romance. The timeline for this story is around the Renaissance and the 16th Century in Italy. The author describes her colorful cast of characters as complex, and complicated.

Bartolomeo Scap
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Pamela
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
In 1577, Giovanni’s beloved uncle, chef Bartolomeo Scappi died. He left his entire estate to Giovanni, including two keys to strongboxes and instructions to burn, without reading, the contents of the boxes. Giovanni’s curiosity gets the better of him and he reads the most current journal and becomes more curious when Bartolomeo switches to a written code to conclude the journal. He also finds a letter from a woman that hints at a love affair.

Set in Rome, this novel is written in the first person
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Meg - A Bookish Affair
Feb 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
In "The Chef's Secret," Crystal King returns with a great historical fiction full of family mysteries, secret romances, and delicious food. I loved her book "Feast of Sorrows" and was so looking forward to this book. I was definitely not disappointed! In this book, she takes us to Rome in the 1500s. Giovanni is the nephew to great chef Bartolomeo Scappi, famed chef to the popes. Giovanni is Scappi's apprentice and dreams of being able to someday create the great feasts that his uncle does with e ...more
Joshualyn Prater
I received an ARC copy from netgalley for my honest review, so thank you netgalley and publishers for offering me this book! ♡
A captivating novel of Renaissance Italy detailing the mysterious life of Bartolomeo Scappi, the legendary chef to several popes and author of one of the bestselling cookbooks of all time, and the nephew who sets out to discover his late uncle’s secrets—including the identity of the noblewoman Bartolomeo loved until he died.

When Bartolomeo Scappi dies in 1577, he leaves
...more
Lisa Leone-campbell
Chef Bartolomeo Scappi, the head cook for the Popes during the 1500's in Rome, dies suddenly and leaves most of his estate to his nephew, apprentice Giovanni Scappi who then steps into the head cook role

Giovanni is given Bartolomeo's cooking knife and a set of keys and is told to destroy what is in the boxes. Giovanni's curiosity gets the better of him and he opens one of the boxes to find his Uncle's journals dating back years, Unfortunately much of the journals are unreadable because they are
...more
Jypsy
The Chef's Secret is a story of mystery and food, obviously. A former chef to the Pope and Cardinals leaves journals. His nephew reads them instead of burning them as instructed. It's an interesting read with some history, family and culinary aspects. It's not my favorite, but it's not bad, either. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
Maureen Crothall
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh my! This book, and her previous one, have thrilled and delighted me, I add another favourite author to my list and wait in anticipation.
Jenni Walsh
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Chef's Secret is aptly titled. The chef, Bartolomeo Scappi, had quite a few skeletons in his closet, to be uncovered by his apprentice/nephew, Giovanni, after Scappi's death. The novel is told in both men's POVs, allowing us to experience Scappi's scandals as they happen and also as Giovanni unravels a lifetime of his uncle's secrets. The result is gripping --and Crystal King's knowledge of Renaissance Italy was evident on every single page, creating a story lush with details. Brava!
Gaele
Giovanni is the nephew of Bartolomeo Scappi, a chef to popes and a man of many secrets. So many secrets that he had two chests of journals, many written with insets of cipher that contained the most ‘delicate’ matters, all left to the nephew Giovanni, along with a house, a small fortune, recipes and a knife, with instructions that he burn all of the journals before curiosity encourages him to read them. An apprentice to his uncle since the age of 19, the now thirty-year-old Giovanni is unable to ...more
Shree
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story set in renaissance Italy and centering around gastronomical delight is every Italophile's perfect idea of a book. This book fit's that box perfectly. The plot is loosely based on 16th century cook(or "Cuoco" in Italian) Bartolomeo Scappi. Scappi served several Popes. He is also famously known for his mammoth of a book of recepies - Opera dell'arte del cucinare.

The story begins with the funeral of Bartolomeo Scappi. He bequeaths his estate - his favorite knife, a collection of his recipe
...more
Linda Zagon
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Linda’s Book Obsession Reviews “The Chef’s Secret” by Crystal King, Atria Books, February 12, 2019

Crystal King, Author of “The Chef’s Secret” has written an intriguing, entertaining, captivating and unique novel. The Genres for this story are Fiction , Historical Fiction with the author’s interpretation, and Romance. The timeline for this story is around the Renaissance and the 16th Century in Italy. The author describes her colorful cast of characters as complex, and complicated.

Bartolomeo Scap
...more
Suanne
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I chose to read this book because I’ve lived extensively in Italy, I’ve read Crystal King’s The Feast of Sorrow and enjoyed her approach to food. The Chef’s Secret did not let me down. The descriptions of food were enough to make me salivate remembering the pasta and other delights I ate there. Written in dual points of view alternating between Bartolomeo Scappi, the private chef to multiple popes, and his protegé/nephew Giovanni. Scappi was a famous chef and wrote on of the best-selling cookboo ...more
Tina
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
When I learned Crystal King was writing another book set in Renaissance Italy I knew I wanted to get copy. Her first book, Feast of Sorrow, made me a lifelong fan. That was a great foodie book filled with intrigue and politics and plotting. Well, this new book, The Chef’s Secret, won’t disappoint in any of those areas.

The story is told by Giovanni, Bartolomeo Scappi’s nephew and protégé. Bartolommeo was a chef for several Popes and when he died, his estate went to his nephew. It was instructed t
...more
Rebecca
3.5 STARS

Since visiting last autumn, I've become even more obsessed with all things Italy. After spotting this book on NetGalley, I couldn't request it quick enough. Bartolomeo Scappi was a renowned chef in Renaissance Italy, but little is known about his personal life. King combines historical events along with fiction to weave a scandalous tale of murder and mystery.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. Until the last 25% or so, I would have considered it a 4 STAR read. There is a fascinating balance
...more
Katherine
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed Feast of Sorrow by Crystal King and jumped at a chance to request a galley of her new book (provided by Atria Books through NetGalley). The Chef's Tale is also historical fiction with a lot of food details that will make a reader hungry. This time her story is centered around Bartolomeo Scappi, a chef to several popes in the 1500's and the author of a popular cookbook. The scant details known about him are worked into the story and the remaining unknowns of his life allow for King to c ...more
Deborah Norkin
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to get an advanced reader copy of Crystal King's second novel, The Chef's Secret. From the first page, I was transported into Renaissance Italy. Everything, from the language to the setting, was flawless. The characters were like people I might meet on the street if I happened to live a few centuries ago. The plot was believable and story flowed naturally. All the twists and turns kept me guessing. If it weren't for the author's statement at the end that informed me what was f ...more
Ethel
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After the death of his uncle Bartolommeo in 1577 Rome, his nephew Giovanni discovers his uncle's secrets when he finds his journals, including an illicit love affair. Bartolomeo Scappi was a legendary Italian chef to several popes and author of one of the bestselling cookbooks of all time. His nephew, Gio, was his protege and followed in his footsteps after the famous chef's death The setting in Renaissance Italy is rich in history, the plot is also rich in intrigue, passion and rivalries. There ...more
Erika
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
Thank you to Netgalley and Touchstone for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. What an amazing novel filled with love, mystery, friendship, family, food that will have you salivating, all beside the beautiful sights of Rome. The novel centers around Bartolomeo Scappi, the private chef for the Pope in the 1500's and his nephew Giovanni who starts to discover much about his life after he passes. What a fascinating behind the scenes view into the Vatican and how all the elaborate meals used to ...more
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Crystal King is the author of THE CHEF'S SECRET and FEAST OF SORROW. A culinary enthusiast and social media professional, her writing is fueled by a love of history and a passion for the food, language and culture of Italy. She has taught classes in writing, creativity and social media at Harvard Extension School, Boston University, Mass College of Art, UMass Boston and GrubStreet, one of the lead ...more