Author Crystal King’s newest historical novel, “The Chef’s Secret,” is a fictional story based on a true character, Bartolomeo Scappi, who served as the Vatican chef during the 16th century Italian Renaissance. From Scappi’s original cookbooks and her extensive research on the popes and cardinals for whom he worked, King recreates and fabricates the missing pieces of the first ""celebrity chef's"" life.
As one reviewer wrote: It’s not a meant as a scholarly novel, but merits recognition for historical details on the Vatican and its occupants, and also architectural details of Roman estates… and, of course, descriptions of Scappi’s recipes and dishes.

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