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Writer: Jarrett Melendez

Artist: Danica Brine

Colorist: Hank Jones

Letterer: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

Publisher: Oni Press

Chef's Kiss, Cover Art by Danica Brine, Oni Press

The Book

Ben is a freshly graduated college writing major, trying and failing to find himself a job in his field. When he finally decides to go for any job that will take him, he comes across Les Cochon Dore, a restaurant that’s hiring with NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY! And to sweeten the deal, the manager Liam is super cute.

After an initial test of his skills and the approval of an adorable pig taste-tester, Ben is hired on a trial basis. To be hired full-time, he must study under each of the three chefs and learn the restaurant’s signature dishes. The more he cooks, the more Ben likes his job, but will his new friends and passion for cooking clash with his old friends and his parent’s approval?

Chef's Kiss, Interior Art by Danica Brine, Oni Press

Chef’s Kiss features a lot of ingredients, but like any good recipe, it balances all the flavors

and plays to each ingredient’s strengths to make one cohesive, delicious whole. Each character is unique and fun, from Ben’s many roommates to

each chef at Les Cochon Dore. Each conflict feels genuine and earns its place, and the romance is adorable and sweet. Watson, the pig with the perfect palette, is an absolute show-stealer, doing his best to make sure this story stays light and fluffy like those ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms.

Melendez’s descriptions, Brine’s art, and Jones’ colors bring each mouth-watering dish to life. Though some of the texture and color got lost (a lot of these recipes feature beige ingredients), the character’s descriptions and reactions to the food as well as the surrounding art still get the deliciousness of the dish across.

Chef’s Kiss is a sweet and savory delight, sure to make you smile.


The Recipe: Ben's Mushroom Ricotta Tart

There are two recipes in the back of Chef’s Kiss, both dishes that Ben cooks at some point in the story and both are beautifully illustrated comic-style. Between Ben’s butternut squash soup and his mushroom ricotta tart, I settled on the mushroom ricotta tart, as those ingredients are a little more in-season where I am in the midwest. This tart was such a nice treat as things started to warm up outside.

(Quick note: I had to do a few replacements for this recipe, due to shopping errors and ingredient availability. I subbed minced and jarred garlic and dried thyme for fresh garlic and thyme, and we unfortunately had to sub baby bella and white mushrooms for the wild mushroom mix. I don’t think any of these substitutions hurt the dish at all. The flavors of the baby bella and white mushroom mix probably wasn’t as diverse as it would have been with the wild mushroom mix, but it still picks up a lot of flavor and is an accessible and affordable substitution.)

The recipe itself was pretty simple and easy to follow. The images and descriptions really help you place where you are in the process, and Otsmane-Elhaou’s lettering is easy to read, with bolding applied to the ingredients to make them easier to see in each step.

I’m so grateful that the recipe doesn’t recommend making our own puff pastry like Ben does in the comic. As impressive as the skill is, the store-bought puff pastry tasted great and went a long way in making this recipe less intimidating. Can you mix things? Can you sauté mushrooms? You’re good to go. Most of your time is spent sautéing mushrooms (10-15 mins, stirring occasionally) and baking the tart (about 30 mins), which I used as some quality podcast time (I recommend the Cryptid Creator Corner and Into the Comics Cave). I was skeptical about topping the tart with an arugula salad, but trust the process. The arugula adds a lovely freshness that goes nicely with the earthy mushrooms and creamy ricotta.

The end result is a beautiful tart that takes a good amount of time but not much effort. This is a recipe to impress your friends with, and it lends itself to sharing.

The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.

All Oni Press characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Oni Press or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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