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Publisher's Summary

As the executive culinary assistant to celebrity Chicago chef Patrick Conlon, Alana Ostermann works behind the scenes - and that's just the way she likes it. But with developing recipes for Patrick's cookbooks, training his sous chefs, picking out the perfect birthday gifts for his ex-mother-in-law, and dealing with the fallout from his romantic escapades, she barely has a personal life, much less time to spend with her combo platter of a mutt, Dumpling.

Then a fluke online connection brings her RJ, a transplant from Tennessee, who adds some Southern spice to her life. Suddenly Alana's priorities shift, and Patrick - and Dumpling - find themselves facing a rival for her time and affection. With RJ in the mix, and some serious decisions to make about her personal and professional future, Alana must discover the perfect balance of work and play, money and meaning, to bring it all to the table - one delicious dish at a time.

©2012 Stacey Ballis (P)2012 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"[A] lighthearted look at finding true love." ( Romantic Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.6 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 3.6 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Light and charming story......

I really liked this book. Very light and easy going -- no major drama and no twisted plot or characters (thankfully delivered from the sickies in this book). A little predictable in places and definitely could have lived without the 120 reasons why her place was a better place to live, but good story overall. The dog was an excellent character and helped connect all the pieces of the story and people together. Interesting insight into the restaurant scene and made me wonder about the behind the scenes of all the coking shows. A great little read and well spent credit.
Oh - AND the beginning of the book gives website information for recipes!.....it seems the book is sprinkled with recipes throughout.... I haven't checked it out yet, but some of the dishes referred to would be great recipes to have!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Painfully shallow boring story...waste of credit

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Less emphasis on food and more story and character development

What was most disappointing about Stacey Ballis’s story?

Just no real point, bad try for humor with all the dog pooh and bodily functions

Which character – as performed by Arielle DeLisle – was your favorite?

Liked the narrator.

What character would you cut from Off the Menu?

The dog!

Any additional comments?

Couldn't wait for it to be over! Ugh

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Mariya
  • Rockaway, NJ, United States
  • 02-23-18

It is a diary.

Interesting but no centralized conflict or theme. just disjointed moments. Stopped reading at sixth chapter.

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  • Story
  • Angie
  • SAN MARCOS, TX, United States
  • 07-22-15

I LOVE Stacey Ballis....

Any additional comments?

...but this book is so boring! Why in the world is this the only one on audio? Go get "Inappropriate Men" and read it and skip this one. Please.

  • Overall
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How do we get more Stacey Ballis books on Audible?

Love the interesting characters and story. A great summer listen. Love the strong and smart females who still have insecurities but also other strong female support around them.

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  • Story

Where's the conflict?

The story seems to consist of dropping names of famous chefs and describing recipes. The heroine has a self-absorbed chef for a boss and has some life decisions to make - but that's all the conflict in the story. I listened on and off for days and finally finished the book, that's about the best I can say for it. It wasn't so horrible that I had to stop listening, but I honestly cannot recommend this book to anyone (unless your having trouble sleeping.) I gave it two stars, only because I reserve one star for truely awful books.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful