The Last Super Chef

HarperCollins/Harper. Jul. 2021. 416p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062943132.
Gr 4 Up–Curtis Pith wants to be a chef almost as badly as he wants to meet the man he believes to be his father: TV’s Super Chef Lucas Taylor. When the Super Chef announces a contest he calls The Last Super Chef with children as the competitors, Curtis sneaks into his neighbor’s well-equipped kitchen to film himself cooking. Curtis gets selected to be in the competition on live television, but he has mixed feelings about it. He wants to win the prize money to help his struggling family, but he also wants to be acknowledged by his father. The ups and downs of the competition take their toll and the pressure continues to grow. The relationships between Curtis and the other children fluctuate as each challenge tests their capabilities. Along the way, Curtis begins to realize that there is so much more to cooking and being a chef than he ever thought possible. Can he put everything he’s learned together and win the contest? And what about the Super Chef? Is he a good guy or a villain? As Curtis wrestles with these questions he comes up with a plan that just might make all the difference, if he can pull it off with a little help from the other kids. Negron has written a compelling story with engaging characters who have unusual but intriguing experiences. The cooking details shine through, but not as clearly as the heart and soul of Curtis who longs for a father and wants to help his mother and sister more than anything else.
VERDICT A great addition for libraries serving fans and cooking shoes, and those seeking stories about following your dreams, discovering who you are, and learning what really matters.

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