The Pot Thief Who Studied Escoffier
J. Michael Orenduff
The Pot Thief books are known for making the reader hungry and this one is no exception. Herbert Schuze, better known as Hubie, is hired to design and make the prototype for chargers (better known as plates) for a brand new restaurant soon to open in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The hitch is the Schnitzel restaurant is going to focus on Austrian cuisine.
From the beginning nothing seems quite right, from the owner to all the quirky people hired to cook and serve. Hubie gets to know these people better than he’d like because he must do his pottery work in the restaurant while preparation for the grand opening are underway. The cooks are trying out all the new recipes and everyone must try them out. None sound appetizing, and most of the time Hubie sneaks away to find more appealing meals elsewhere.
For followers of the Pot Thief books, Hubie makes plenty of trips back home and to Dos Hermanos Tortilleria in Albuquerque to discuss the happenings and the employees of Schnitzel with his friend, Susannah, over margaritas and chips. In between, he reads about the life and times of Escoffier.
The opening of the Schnitzel is disastrous. Austrian food is not a hit with the epicureans of Santa Fe. The descriptions of the menu items were explicit enough for me to know I would never try them. Never fear though, Hubie does plenty of cooking and eating of much more tantalizing dishes.
Though I haven’t mentioned it yet, there is a murder and of course Hubie is the prime suspect. Along with the quest to find out the true murderer, Hubie is romanced, threatened, creates new dishes, bar tends, attempts a bit of burglary and safecracking, and is nearly murdered. As with all the Pot Thief books, plenty of subtle humor abounds, and Hubie enjoys his Gruet Blanc de Noir.
There’s much to love in The Pot Thief Who Studied Escoffier. It has all the elements that endeared readers to Hubie and this series, good food and drink, unusual characters, great settings, a puzzling mystery and plenty more. Though I recommend that all the books be read, each can be read as a stand-alone.
Marilyn Meredith, Author of Angel Lost and the soon to be published No Bells.