'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 26 July 2022

Review: Meowster Chef

As the glitter settles on another Masterchef Australia Grand Finale and my tastebuds mourn the conclusion of this year’s season of sumptuous concoctions, I’m left thinking, hang on, have I missed something? 

For slinking on the sidelines is a clowder of cats, each keen to become the new Meowster Chef and claim the keys to the newest, most sparkly restaurant in town. Stupendous! My appetite for cooking competitions is sated thanks to, Meowster Chef!

But it’s not all that straightforward. Our favourite feline contesters each have a skill set befitting their signature dishes and are not shy about flaunting them, especially little Lou, #bestchef #influencer #wannabefamous. To keep things on an even kitchen bench as it were, judges, Melissa and Jock (Yes! MC addicts will recognise these notable namesakes) call in the big guns, Chef Purrrsey from Britain.

The atmosphere sizzles as Pierre, Jinx, Belle and Lou chop, stir, whip and, ahem … strike-a-pose – they are on the tellie after all – as the tension mounts and the seconds tick by. Contestants succumb to the perils of fine food preparation until the final round consists of just two; pompous Pierre and socials-slave, Lou. Who will impress our acclaimed judges to take out the coveted culinary prize? Well, like all great Grand Finales, you’ll have to tuck in your napkin and sit down to feast on this latest creation by, Sarah Speedie, for yourself. No spoilers here!

With near perfect metre, hilarious timing and a delicious sense of parody, Speedie serves up a picture book that youngsters will lap up whilst simultaneously tickling the tastebuds of older readers (and lovers of Masterchef, like yours truly). Tongue in cheek references to the world’s most popular TV cooking comp will no doubt ignite a grin but you don’t need to be a fan of the show or even a foodie to appreciate the comedy of chaotic competition. Such is the broad and clever appeal this story encapsulates.

Marina Verola’s exuberant illustrations more than set the scene. They provide a bright bold comical backdrop that bears an alarming similarity to the real-life reality show and thus really ramps up the jocularity of this tale. I am also a bit addicted to the careful consideration given to the endpapers. Oh, and if its added-extras that make your mouth water, you’re in for a treat. Our trophy winner includes the recipe of their winning dish. Yumo! Meowster Chef is riotous fun for the whole family to devour, because families should share mealtimes together.

Title: Meowster Chef
Author: Sarah Speedie
Illustrator: Marina Verola
Publisher: Larrikin House, $19.99
Publication Date: July 2022
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978192253954
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book