Celebrity chefs are increasingly becoming the stuff of cheesy fiction. A Publishers Marketplace search reveals novels with premises like “a bad-boy L.A. chef is forced to spend a year cooking for a woman who’s just inherited an organic café,” and “a talented dessert chef sweeps into town and steals the show and her heart,” and “a top Manhattan chef who's fired after a nasty review escapes to Tuscany where she turns up the heat with a handsome winery owner,” and “a restaurant owner serves the best barbecue on Beale Street, and also solves mysteries.” So who’s the latest to inflict one of these on the reading public? Al Roker! The Today website reveals that his new novel, The Morning Show Murders, features a character named Billy Blessing (based on himself) that is a “celebrity chef, bon vivant and restaurateur.” The setup: “When Rudy is found poisoned in his home after a meal of coq au vin ordered from Billy's restaurant, suspicious eyes turn to Billy.” Thrilling.
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