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Soul Kitchen

Cover of Soul Kitchen

Soul Kitchen

A Novel
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If you can't stand the heat...Get the hell out of New Orleans!Liquor has become one of the hottest restaurants in town, thanks in part to chefs Rickey and G-man's wildly creative, booze-laced food. At...
If you can't stand the heat...Get the hell out of New Orleans!Liquor has become one of the hottest restaurants in town, thanks in part to chefs Rickey and G-man's wildly creative, booze-laced food. At...
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Description-
  • If you can't stand the heat...Get the hell out of New Orleans!

    Liquor has become one of the hottest restaurants in town, thanks in part to chefs Rickey and G-man's wildly creative, booze-laced food. At the tail end of a busy Mardi Gras, Milford Goodman walks into their kitchen--he's spent the last ten years in Angola Prison for murdering his boss, a wealthy New Orleans restaurateur, but has recently been exonerated on new evidence and released. Rickey remembers him as an ingenious chef and hires him on the spot.

    When a pill-pushing doctor and a Carnival scion talk Rickey into consulting at the restaurant they're opening in one of the city's "floating casinos," Rickey recommends Milford for the head chef position and stays on to supervise. But soon Rickey finds himself medicating a kitchen injury with the doctor's wares, and G-man grows tired of holding down the fort at Liquor alone. As the new restaurant moves toward its opening, Rickey learns that Milford's past is inextricably linked with one of the project's backers, a man whose intentions begin to seem more and more sinister.

    Full of the flavor of one of America's greatest cities, Soul Kitchen is a sharp commentary on race relations in pre-Katrina New Orleans and a fast ride through the dark side of haute cuisine.

    From the Trade Paperback edition.
Excerpts-
  • Chapter One Mardi Gras morning dawned dank and cold. The four cooks had already been at the restaurant for a couple of hours, preparing a krewe breakfast for Rickey's mother's truck parade.

    Truck parades are a Carnival Day phenomenon unknown outside New Orleans. Rather than the ornate and glamorous confections boasted by the bigger, richer krewes, their floats are basically giant wooden boxes pulled by tractor-trailer cabs that blast their air horns incessantly as they roll through the streets. Each float's riders select a theme--Louisiana Sports Legends, say, or Favorite Desserts--and decorate their trailer in foil and crepe paper to reflect it. If they are feeling flush, they might invest in theme sweatshirts too, but many of the beads, cups, and trinkets they throw are caught from other parades earlier in the season or even the previous Mardi Gras. Truck parades are a part of blue-collar Carnival seldom seen by the tourists who frequent Bourbon Street, but a certain segment of the citizenry cherishes them.

    John Rickey and Gary "G-man" Stubbs were not a part of that segment, at least not today. Because they owned a popular restaurant, Rickey's mother had convinced them to put on a breakfast buffet for the Krewe of Chalmatians, so named because most of its members were from New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward or the neighboring suburb of Chalmette. Rickey and G-man had grown up in the Lower Ninth Ward, but moved away when they turned eighteen, a little over a decade ago. The only vestiges of downtown that remained were their gritty Brooklynesque accents and a certain reluctance to take any shit off of anyone, be it a lazy line cook, a purveyor delivering inferior produce, or a diner with an unjustified complaint about his meal.

    Having cooked together for fifteen years and lived together for the better part of that time, Rickey and G-man knew each other's kitchen habits by heart and worked together as efficiently as two hands washing one another. To fill out their crew this morning they had recruited Tanker, their dessert guy who was secretly a crackerjack saute cook, and Marquis, who was young but learning fast. He'd started out as a salad bitch, but now they let him work the hot line on slow nights. Today he would be in charge of keeping bacon, sausage, and toast coming out of the oven, topping up the water in the rented steam tables, and cutting celery for the Bloody Marys.

    Tanker had reheated the big pot of crawfish etouffee they'd made last night and was now working on a giant batch of grits. G-man, Rickey's co-chef and the true workhorse of the kitchen, was adding clarified butter to egg yolks in a double boiler to make hollandaise sauce for Rickey's eggs Sardou. Tall and rangy, with short dark hair tucked under a purple New Orleans Hornets baseball cap, G-man scowled at the sauce through the dark glasses he habitually wore in any bright light. He had tried to talk Rickey out of this fussy and time-consuming dish, but Rickey had insisted on it. The restaurant's name, Rickey pointed out, was Liquor. All their dishes contained some form of booze, a perfect concept for New Orleans. Of course they weren't sticking to the gimmick for this breakfast, but Rickey felt that at least one dish should pack an alcoholic punch, so eggs Sardou it was: poached eggs with artichoke hearts, hollandaise, and an Herbsaint-laced spinach cream.

    "Splooge," Rickey muttered as he tasted the spinach. Not as tall as G-man and a little paunchy from a lifetime of sampling his own dishes, he was handsome enough to have been anointed a glamour boy by the national food...
About the Author-
  • Poppy Z. Brite is the author of two previous books in this series, Liquor and Prime, as well as five other novels and three short story collections. She lives in New Orleans with her husband, Chris, a chef.


    From the Trade Paperback edition.
Reviews-
  • New York TimesPraise for Liquor and Prime: "A high-end restaurant is--for any competent novelist--a gift that keeps on giving. The heat, the bickerings and intrigue, the pursuit of perfection, the dodgy money keeping it all afloat: the setting spawns plots . . . Can the [Liquor] franchise sustain itself? The answer is yes."
  • Entertainment Weekly "Steeped in spicy dialogue and [New Orleans] flavor . . . a behind-the-swinging-door peek into the world of chefs."
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    Crown Publishing Group
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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