Soul Kitchen (Paperback) by Brite, Poppy Z
Liquor has become one of the hottest restaurants in town, thanks in part to chefs Rickey and G-man’s wildly creative, booze-laced food. At the tail end of a busy Mardi Gras, Milford Goodman walks into their kitchen—he’s spent the last ten years in Angola Prison for murdering his boss, a wealthy New Orleans restaurateur, but has recently been exonerated on new evidence and released. Rickey remembers him as an ingenious chef and hires him on the spot.
When a pill-pushing doctor and a Carnival scion talk Rickey into consulting at the restaurant they’re opening in one of the city’s “floating casinos,” Rickey recommends Milford for the head chef position and stays on to supervise. But soon Rickey finds himself medicating a kitchen injury with the doctor’s wares, and G-man grows tired of holding down the fort at Liquor alone. As the new restaurant moves toward its opening, Rickey learns that Milford’s past is inextricably linked with one of the project’s backers, a man whose intentions begin to seem more and more sinister.
Full of the flavor of one of America’s greatest cities, Soul Kitchen is a sharp commentary on race relations in pre-Katrina New Orleans and a fast ride through the dark side of haute cuisine.