Synopses & Reviews
meets Three Junes
in this mouthwatering novel about three brothers who run competing restaurants, and the culinary snobbery, staff stealing, and secret affairs that unfold in the back of the house.
Britt and Leo have spent ten years running Winesap, the best restaurant in their small Pennsylvania town. They cater to their loyal customers; they don't sleep with the staff; and business is good, even if their temperamental pastry chef is bored with making the same chocolate cake night after night. But when their younger brother, Harry, opens his own restaurant — a hip little joint serving an aggressive lamb neck dish — Britt and Leo find their own restaurant thrown off-kilter. Britt becomes fascinated by a customer who arrives night after night, each time with a different dinner companion. Their pastry chef, Hector, quits, only to reappear at Harry's restaurant. And Leo finds himself falling for his executive chef — tempted to break the cardinal rule of restaurant ownership. Filled with hilarious insider detail — the one-upmanship of staff meals before the shift begins, the rivalry between bartender and hostess, the seedy bar where waitstaff and chefs go to drink off their workday — Bread and Butter is both an incisive novel of family and a gleeful romp through the inner workings of restaurant kitchens.
“Brothers Leo and Britt are co-owners of Winesap, a popular restaurant in their small, economically depressed hometown on the outskirts of Philadelphia. They have always considered their younger sibling, Harry, a bit of a dilettante. While they’ve been chained to a hot stove, Harry has flitted in and out of academia and flirted with one career after another. So imagine their surprise when Harry announces that he’s opening a restaurant of his own, virtually right down the street....As the brothers test this recipe for potential disaster, they...learn the true meaning of family, friendship, and the secret to a killer soufflé....[Wildgen] whip[s] up a debut delicacy that’s as complex as a rich cassoulet and as comforting as good ol’ mac-and-cheese.“ Booklist
“In Wildgen’s latest, three foodie brothers find themselves in a stew...[a] family drama set against the backdrop of an insider’s take on big-ticket dining....Wildgen plates one dazzling dish after another on nearly every page.” Kirkus Reviews
“Wildgen dazzles with her prose, which is sprinkled with keen observations and supported by her food-writing knowledge....[A] trenchant examination of sibling rivalry and fine cuisine. Not for foodies only.” Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Michelle Wildgen is the executive editor of the literary quarterly Tin House. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Wildgen received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Her fiction, personal essays, and food writing have appeared in The New York Times; O, The Oprah Magazine; Best New American Voices; Best Food Writing; Prairie Schooner; and elsewhere. Michelle is the author of the novels But Not for Long and You're Not You, and the editor of an anthology, Food & Booze: A Tin House Literary Feast. You're Not You has been optioned for film by Hilary Swank and Denise Di Novi.