Blog Tour: The Dish | Stella Newman

09:00 Daniel Riding 0 Comments

Hello folks, and welcome to my stop on the official blog tour for 'The Dish' by Stella Newman. We have been lucky enough to have been sent an extract from the book to wet your appetite for this wonderful book.
The Dish by Stella Newman is the new novel from the much-loved author of Pear Shaped and Leftovers

This is a warm, passionate novel that will delight fans of Jill Mansell and Mhairi McFarlane and leave you happy and hungry in equal measure.

 
Love is on the menu. With a side order of lies.


When Laura Parker first crosses forks with Adam Bayley, she's only after one thing: his custard doughnut. But when she takes a closer look she sees a talented, handsome man who outshines the string of jokers she's been dating.
There's just one problem. Adam's job means Laura has to keep her job as restaurant critic for The Dish, a secret. Tricky for someone who prides herself on honesty.
Can the truth be put on ice long enough for love to flourish?
And how can you expect your boyfriend to be honest if you're not quite telling the truth yourself?

 
Stella Newman. Fiction has never tasted so good.

Extract

‘Parker, can I borrow you a minute?’
‘Let me just grab a napkin, Roger . . .’ I say, cradling the phone under my neck while I attempt to keep my burrito in check with one hand: impossible – it’s too heavy and too precarious.
‘Sorry! I didn’t realise you were having lunch, it can wait.’
‘It’s fine,’ I say, although invariably I say it’s fine, when I mean it’s not. That very next bite of burrito would have had every single component lined up in a row: rice, beans, slow-braised pork, salsa, sour cream, guacamole and a few shreds of cheese. I’m no mathlete but I reckon the probability of having full-house distribution of all seven components in one mouthful is slim. In fact it’s rare, and now I’ve put the burrito down all order is lost.
Roger’s office is chaotic as usual, his floor stacked with back copies of The Voice, his walls papered with layouts for March’s issue. His desk is an avalanche waiting to happen – books, journals, golf balls and empty packets of McCoys – watched over from the corner by a life-sized cardboard cut-out of Joanna Lumley in full Patsy get-up: beehive, shades, bottle of Stoly. Azeem, our digital editor, gave her to Roger for his 60th and she’s a gift that keeps on giving.
Sandra tries to make Roger tidy up in here once a week, but trying to keep this space in order is like slagging off Justin Bieber on Twitter, then attempting to hold back an army of inflamed online Beliebers with your bare fingers: futile. My day job is still being Roger’s PA so theoretically desk tidying is my responsibility. It certainly isn’t Sandra’s, she’s Managing Editor, far more senior and important than me. But then Sandra’s not a normal Managing Editor. No: Sandra is a ferociously cold fifty-five year old who dip-dyes her hair hot pink to prove she has a personality. After a particularly unpleasant run-in with her, Azeem suggested that Sandra’s heart was a small pebble she’d found on Farringdon Road, which she’d
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taken back to the office and shrink-wrapped in plastic with her precious laminating machine. He’s re-christened her The Laminator.
Sandra, meanwhile, has created her own nickname (bad form, surely, like laughing at your own jokes?). In an effort to prove
to everyone at work that she’s closer to Roger than the rest of
us – Sandra calls herself Roger’s ‘Office Wife’. That’s fine: OW suits Sandra just fine – as does ROW. Roger probably won’t marry again and certainly won’t marry Sandra, but Roger is kind and so he let’s her keep the nickname. And life is way too short to argue about who tidies Roger’s office, so she can keep that job too.
‘Parker – have a seat.’
‘Chance would be a fine thing,’ I say, removing a brass trophy from last month’s Press Awards from the chair.
‘Is that yours or mine?’
‘Mine,’ I say, reading the plaque: Best Features Review – Arts & Leisure. ‘But I can’t do much with it. I’ll leave it in here.’
‘Nonsense, you should be proud of it. Use it as a paperweight?’
It’ll only antagonise Sandra, I think, as I cradle it in my lap. Still, I am proud of it, very much so.
‘What are you looking for?’ I say, as Roger pushes a pile of papers to one side, then starts shuffling through another.
‘Something you’ll like! Something with your name all over it.’
He doesn’t mean that literally. Nothing has my name on it, not when it comes to my other job. When I started writing our restaurant column, The Dish, after Fergus Kaye’s meltdown, Roger and I agreed the new column should be anonymous. Of course Jess sent me a long, ranty email telling me I was being a naive pushover and that I should always FIGHT FOR FULL CREDIT and INSIST IT’S UNDER THE LAURA PARKER BYLINE.
But Jess was wrong. Food critics aren’t like other critics: when our film critic, Henry, sees a film it’s the same film our readers will see. You don’t see Spielberg running round backstage at the Odeon re-shooting a happy ending just for Henry. But with food it’s a different story. A food critic whose face is known will never have the same experience as the average reader. On the rare occasions I ate out with Fergus and Roger, we’d be seated at the best table, and
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the chefs would send over Fergus-shaped treats: extra foie gras, free champagne. The pen is mightier than the sword (and the rolling pin.). No – the only way you can do this job properly is if no one knows your name.
‘A friend at The Times sent it to me on the sly,’ says Roger, handing me a cream A5 card with gold foil edging. ‘Obviously we’re not welcome after last time . . . So all the more reason to go!’
If he wasn’t nearly thirty years older than me, I’d have a proper boss-crush on Roger. He’s bald, stout and looks his age: 62. If you didn’t know him you’d think he was a retired geography teacher who’d been kept awake three nights in a row with root-canal problems: not standard crush material. But Roger is a brilliant journalist – fearless, sharp and compassionate. Also, he saved me from my old life. And more than anything, he makes every day in this office fun.
‘What do you think?’ he says, leaning forward on his elbows. ‘Have you got to the bit about the sexy-punk aesthetic?’
‘Hold on . . . I’m counting the number of times they’ve used the word exquisite.’
‘And what a dreadful name!’
‘LuxEris – sounds like a cross between an exotic dancer and a hybrid.’
‘Perhaps I should have christened Gemma that . . .’
‘Oh dear – what’s she up to now?’
‘Threatening to go to Thailand for three months with some chap she met online five minutes ago. Her mother’s on the verge of having her locked up. Bet you never gave your parents this much grief.’
‘I’m just glad the Internet didn’t exist when I was nineteen,’ I say. ‘Besides, Mum would have banged me to rights.’
‘True, Jane would have. I suppose Elizabeth and I both spoiled Gemma . . . guilt. Still, I can’t understand where she gets this stubborn, rebellious streak from.’
‘Oooh, stubborn and rebellious – I couldn’t possibly imagine! Are you sure she’s not adopted?’
He sits back in his chair and laughs. ‘OK, she probably is mine. So then: what do you reckon – make this the main review for April?’
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‘You’re quite sure you’re happy for me to—’
‘Both barrels, Laura. Besides, it might actually be good.’
I snort my response.
‘So what’s the diary looking like?’ he asks.
‘I’m doing a noodle place tomorrow and an Italian pop-up on Wednesday – Thursday?’
‘There is one condition though.’
‘Go on . . .’
‘I’m coming with.’

About The Author
Stella Newman studied English at Sussex University, then went on to work in advertising, at the BBC and then as a professional food taster. She is now a full time writer, based in London and has written three novels: Pear Shaped, Leftovers and The Dish, as well as the festive e-short story, A Pear Shaped Christmas. She blogs about restaurants, food and writing at www.stellanewmansblog.blogspot.com and you can follow her on twitter @stellanewman 
 
To buy this wonderful book then head over to the link below:
 

For now folks, happy reading/

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