Shortly before turning the big 5-0, boisterous party planner and Cooking with Gusto! personality Augusta "Gus" Simpson finds herself planning a birthday party she'd rather not--her own. She's getting tired of being the hostess, the mother hen, the woman who has to plan her own birthday party. What she needs is time on her own with enough distance to give her loved ones the ingredients to put together successful lives without her. Assisted by a handsome up-and-coming chef, Oliver, Gus invites a select group to take an on-air cooking class. But instead of just preaching to the foodie masses, she will teach regular people how to make rich, sensuous meals--real people making real food. Gus decides to bring a vibrant cast of friends and family on the program: Sabrina, her fickle daughter; Troy, Sabrina's ex-husband; Anna, Gus's timid neighbor; and Carmen, Gus's pompous and beautiful competitor at the Cooking Channel. And when she begins to have more than collegial feelings for her sous-chef, Gus realizes that she might be able to rejuvenate not just her professional life, but her personal life as well. ...
Jacobs follows The Friday Night Knitting Club with another multigenerational tale, this time on the foodie circuit. Popular Cooking with Gusto! host Augusta "Gus" Simpson, a widowed mother of two adult daughters who's about to turn 50, is tiring of her many obligations, which include throwing an annual birthday bash for herself. That trial pales, however, in comparison with the introduction of saucy former beauty queen and YouTube star Carmen Vega as Gus's cohost: Carmen is younger, hotter and very tight with the boss. It's soon apparent on the set that this new situation isn't working, so the two are packed off, along with a forgettable cast of secondaries, to a corporate team-building weekend, complete with New Age guide. When the resort's head chef calls in sick, a team-building opportunity presents itself. Jacobs gives Gus a reasonable love interest and provides the requisite bickering and backstabbing, but the foodie moments lack passion, and the results yield no stars. (May) Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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May 05, 2008
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