Book Review: Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams

How Excited Was I To Read Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams? On the one hand, the premise of this book sounded cute. And I used to be a huge Top Chef fan (in those first few seasons… Harold Dieterle, I love you). So that was exciting. But the title? Are you KIDDING me? “other stuff that made me famous” = ugh. I hate when authors writer down to their readers, and I was afraid this would be one of those books.

Then I read a positive review over on The Story Siren so I (figuratively) tripped right over to my library’s request-a-book page!

Book Rating: a solid 7. This book isn’t going to change your world. But it was a cute light read.

Book Jacket: Can a spot on a teen reality show really lead to a scholarship at an elite cooking school AND a summer romance?

Sixteen-year-old Sophie Nicolaides was practically raised in the kitchen of her family’s Italian-Greek restaurant, Taverna Ristorante. When her best friend, Alex, tries to convince her to audition for a new reality show, Teen Test Kitchen, Sophie is reluctant. But the prize includes a full scholarship to one of America’s finest culinary schools and a summer in Napa, California, not to mention fame.

Once on-set, Sophie immediately finds herself in the thick of the drama—including a secret burn book, cutthroat celebrity judges, and a very cute French chef. Sophie must figure out a way to survive all the heat and still stay true to herself. A terrific YA offering–fresh, fun, and sprinkled with romance.

Book Review: I should start out as admitting that I could probably be described as a “foodie.” I love exploring new restaurants. I love cooking. So I loved to see Sophie’s passion for food, her discovery of farm-to-table, and her associated memories. I always think it’s fun when books include recipes, and this one has a nice smattering included between the chapters.

The reality show part was fun, but I don’t think it was particularly realistic. She did have a “Black Box” where she discussed the show as it went on (you know, the short interviews) and she was faced with producers’ dramatic editing. But I once read an article on how cooking shows progress in actuality and this seemed more like a Real World than a Top Chef. But it was still enjoyable – and I thought it was a clever concept!

Last, this book did sort of have a love triangle. But it was one that did not bother me. I never worried for any of the characters, if that makes sense? So awakening romance was a nice part of the story. But really only a side part. This book was all about Sophie and cooking, and that’s the kind of book I can get into!