I’m horrible at making choices like this. I love a night out at a posh restaurant, but I’m also happy eating at food trucks and casual locations. I don’t think I would want someplace like Ransom every night. True story. When we were in college, my husband (then boyfriend) and I went to a formal affair – black tie, the works. He asked where I wanted to eat. I chose po-boys at a local oyster bar.
Can you cook well? What is the best thing in your repertoire ?
I’m a decent home cook, or I thought I was until I started watching so many reality cooking shows. A lot of my best dishes are from my home state of Louisiana. I can make a mean gumbo and a pretty decent étouffée. I like to try new things, so I’ll experiment with recipes from Epicurious.com or Bon Appétit when I have time. I learned to make tom yum goong when we moved far enough out of the city that going to get it was inconvenient. Don’t let me fool you into thinking I do that all the time. Plenty of nights it’s breakfast-for-supper.
Which character in A Taste of You is most like your personality?
Oh, dear. I don’t think I’m as clever as either Garret or Carlo. I’m probably the worst of them both. In our real life business, I’m Carlo. I’m responsible for the more day-to-day stuff. Emotionally, and this is horrible for a romance writer to admit, I’m more like Garrett. When something impacts me deeply, I sometimes close off. It takes me a long time to acknowledge grief, for example.
Are the characters based on anyone you know?
No. Not at all, except in the fact that bits and pieces of people always seem to work their way in. My husband, Bones, loves a meatball sub – stuff like that. The concept was originally sparked while watching Hell’s Kitchen. There was a shot of Chef Ramsey and Jean-Philippe Susilovic together. I thought they would have made a cute couple but I’ve never met them. About the only thing I know about their personal lives is that they aren’t romantically entangled.
Do you watch food reality shows?
I do. I like Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef and Chopped. MasterChef Jr. is probably my favorite right now.
What’s the best thing you’ve ever eaten? The worst?
The worst is cow’s liver. It’s one of the few things I won’t try again. I can’t even stand to smell it cooking. Bones loves it.
The best? Wow. Maybe if you asked, the best of a specific thing I might be able to answer. Instead, I think I will cheat a little and choose the jambalaya Bones makes. It’s amazingly good, but it’s not the sort of dish most people would pick for this question. It’s the package, the tradition. It’s a family recipe and he makes it in the same massive cast iron pot he used to help his grandfather cook it in. Carlo would understand why I chose this.
What would you have for your last meal?
I know it’s my last meal? I don’t like the implications of this….
Describe yourself in three words.
Goal-oriented, dreamer, marshmallow
What’s upcoming for you?
I have a novella, Tall Order, coming out in an anthology soon. It features another chef and is set in Austin, where I live. I had a blast writing it.
Hell’s Kitchen has nothing on the flames Giancarlo and Garrett ignite at Restaurant Ransom…
Garrett Ransom is America’s hot chef du jour. He has a Michelin-starred restaurant in New York City, a hit reality TV show, and a new man in his bed every week. Yes, he secretly thinks his business partner, Giancarlo “Carlo” Rotolo, is hotter than a ghost pepper, but he would never jeopardize their friendship with a fling. Then Garrett overhears some juicy gossip among the crew and realizes he’ll have to break Giancarlo’s cardinal rule, no banging the staff – for Carlo’s own good, of course. Just a taste of Carlo should be plenty. Long-term relationships aren’t on Garrett’s menu.
Giancarlo’s been in love with Garrett forever. He’s sure Garrett will eventually realize they are destined to be more than business partners. But when Garrett installs his latest boyfriend as their new chef d’cuisine and announces plans to leave Carlo in New York while he opens a second restaurant on the west coast, Carlo is forced to re-evaluate his life.
Can a high-strung British chef and a nice Italian boy from Brooklyn find the perfect fusion of fine-dining and family-style?
Screw “not too eager.” His legs must have moved, but Giancarlo couldn’t have said how he got from Point A to Point B. He knew only that Garrett was home, and they were together again. They were doing their usual greeting, a mash-up of a bro-hug and a more European double-cheek air kiss. And how had two gay men come up with something so awkward?
Or maybe it wasn’t awkward to anyone but Carlo because he didn’t want the bro-hug or “air kisses.” He wanted to sweep Garrett into his arms and soul kiss him until they were both dizzy and panting. He wanted the real damn thing.
Instead, he held himself awkwardly rigid while he leaned in to welcome his best friend home—upper half only on the hug so an indiscrete brush of thigh wouldn’t reveal exactly how happy he was to see his business partner. He inhaled carefully on the second kiss, and his knees nearly buckled. Garrett was the only chef he knew who never seemed to smell like his kitchen. No fish. No beef. No spices. Never in a million years the fry station. Garrett smelled sweet—warm cookies, vanilla, and sugar—like he should have been the pastry chef instead of Grace. The aroma always blindsided Giancarlo. Garrett wasn’t known for sweet. The scent was a secret thing. The Garrett no one knew but him. Want more? Read the full first chapter on IrenePreston.com
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Irene Preston has to write romances-after all, she’s living one! As a starving college student, she met her dream man who whisked her away on a romantic honeymoon across Europe. Today they live in the beautiful hill country outside of Austin, Texas where Dream Man is still working hard to make sure she never has to take off her rose-colored glasses
Irene loves to socialize. Stop by and say hello at any of her sites!