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If You Can't Take the Heat

If You Can't Take the Heat

by Michael Ruhlman

From James Beard Award–winning author Michael Ruhlman, a coming-of-age story about finding a new life and love in the kitchen…and trying not to get burned along the way.

When high school football star Theo Claverback breaks his leg just weeks after a devastating break-up, he’s forced to call an audible on his summer plans and put his college ones on hold. He soon finds himself in the most unlikely of places for a jock on crutches: the kitchen of an upscale French restaurant, where he’ll work as a prep cook while his heart and leg heal.

But it’s in the kitchen where Theo finds new purpose and a new romance. As he becomes a trusted employee to Chef and is welcomed into his inner circle, Theo begins to discover the true costs of running a restaurant—and what happens when you get into hot water with the wrong people.

Set in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1980, If You Can't Take the Heat is a gritty look inside the belly of an upscale kitchen where love and danger boil behind closed doors.

"Food writer Ruhlman employs exacting verisimilitude to bring the heat of the kitchen and sensory details of the dishes to life in this vivacious debut."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"This human story is the book’s real strength, as is the care given to detailing the operations inside a restaurant kitchen, lending power and authenticity."—Booklist

"A refreshingly different take on the romance genre, written from the male perspective, and a great purchase for all libraries."—School Library Journal

"Ruhlman’s writing is at its best when Theo is in the kitchen. The hustle and passion that flow during service drop readers squarely in the middle of the action...The well-realized foodie elements are the highlight."—Kirkus Reviews

  • Pages: 320 Pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Imprint: Penguin Workshop
  • ISBN: 9780593523445
Penguin Teen