A Dash of Salt and Pepper by Kosoka Jackson: My Favorite Romance of the Year

Ok, confession time! I am a sucker for chef romances. Maybe it’s because I went to culinary school. Maybe it’s because competence in a very specific skill is hot as hell. Whatever the reason, I love a chef romance and A Dash of Salt and Pepper is one of the best!

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Xavier Reynolds is doing less than stellar. He just got dumped, was passed over for a prestigious fellowship, and to top it all off he’s right back home in Harper’s Cove, Maine (population: 9,000). The last thing he wants to do is to work as a prep chef in the kitchen of the hip new restaurant in town, The Wharf. Especially since the hot, single-father chef who owns it can’t delegate to save his life.

Logan O’Hare doesn’t understand Xavier or why every word out of his mouth is dipped in sarcasm. Unfortunately, he has no choice but to hire him–he needs more help in the kitchen and his tween daughter, Anne, can only mince so many onions. It might be a recipe for disaster, but Logan doesn’t have many options besides Xavier.

Stuck between a stove and a hot place, Logan and Xavier discover an unexpected connection. But when the heat between them threatens to top the Scoville scale, they’ll have to decide if they can make their relationship work or if life has seasoned them too differently.

The story starts with Xavier. He was just broken up with and is now living back at his parents’ house. He was passed over for a fellowship but while he’s wallowing in his sorrows, the fellowship calls him up and informs him that they have a spot for him! He just needs $3000. Unfortunately, his bank account does not hold even close to that amount.

Cut to showing up at his parents’ house to find some hot dude and a teenager eating dinner with his mom and dad. His mother informs him that the dude is chef Logan O’Hare who owns The Wharf in Harper’s Cove and the teen is his daughter, Anne. His mom suggests Xavier work for him and Xavier immediately dismisses the idea.

But beggars can’t be choosers when you need $3000 to kick start your career. So Logan takes him on (reluctantly). Xavier doesn’t expect much beyond getting paid but he certainly doesn’t expect to have a connection with Logan and to quickly catch feelings for him.

The more he works at The Wharf, spends time with Logan and Anne, and learns more about Logan, he finds himself easily fitting into Logan’s life and quickly falling for him.

I. LOVE. THIS. BOOK. The banter is off the charts. It’s definitely the best snark I’ve read in a while. It’s delightful. I also LOVE Xavier and Logan’s relationship. It’s fun, meaningful, and beautiful. I loved watching it grow as they went to the farmer’s market, danced at a local bar, and cooked together. They are couple goals times 1000.

Yes, they have their struggles. There is a secret Xavier is keeping from Logan and Logan does not react well when he discovers it, but they figure it out. Usually, I hate lies/lies by omission, but this was so well done.

But beyond that, I really enjoyed watching Xavier and Logan grow as their own people, especially Xavier. At the beginning of the book, he’s so focused on leaving his hometown and having a certain kind of career, but by the end, he learns that maybe there are some things that are more important than that.

I also LOVED ANNE! She is hilarious and protective and wonderful. She may or may not punch a girl for being homophobic toward her dad. It doesn’t get much better than that!

A Dash of Salt and Pepper by Kosoka Jackson is fun, sexy, and needs to be your next read ASAP! I’m definitely going to reread it. I’m giving it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

A Dash of Salt and Pepper is available now!

Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley Books for the free eARC in exchange for my honest review.

If you’d like to support me, donating to my ko-fi goes a long way to keeping this blog up and making my life a little more stable. Love you all!

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