If there is one person in the White House that Executive Chef Ollie Paras would not want to work with one-on-one, it would be Sensitivity Director Peter Everett Sargeant. Since day one, the two have butted heads. Unfortunately, they have no choice but to work together when the First Lady asks for their help in scouting locations for the birthday party that she is throwing for the Secretary of State.
On the way to the final venue to be checked out, they run into Peter's cousin, Milton. It's obvious that Peter wants nothing to do with Milton, but Ollie doesn't want to be rude and just brush him off. All Milton wants is for Peter to put in a good word for him at the White House so that maybe he can get a job there. He is so proud that Peter works there that when a guy bumps into him in the street he threatens him with arrest for assaulting a White House employee. Peter knows that Milton is not the right fit for the White House and pushes Ollie along, telling Milton they're late for their meeting and he'll be in touch.
They arrive at Lexington Place and go up to assess the kitchen area and function room to see if it would work for the birthday party. Expecting to find Patty Woodruff, assistant to the First Lady, waiting for them, they are surprised to find that she hasn't arrived yet. The two poke around and get a good feel for the place. They realize it could be a good place for the party. Upon closer inspection Ollie notices a thin red line on the floor she can't help but investigate. And the red stain leads her right to the tilt-skillet and the body of Patty Woodruff. As the secret service, DC police, and just about everyone else in DC converges on the scene, they make an even more gruesome discovery - the body of Chief of Staff Mark Cowley, stuffed into the tilt-skillet right next to Patty's.
And once again, Ollie finds herself smack-dab in the middle of a murder investigation. How can it be that the normally meddling chef, who isn't being her nosy self, still seems to find herself in the thick of it all? First, she is dealing with head usher Paul taking a leave of absence to tend to his ill wife, leaving the not-so-experienced Doug temporarily in charge. Then there is Virgil, the recently hired personal chef to the first family, who, much to the kitchen staffs liking, helps them out when not needed by the First Family. They just can't stand his, "I'm better than you" attitude. Who can blame them? And there is Peter - her nemesis. It seems that someone is out to get Peter, get him right out of the White House. Things are happening that are making it appear that Peter is making mistakes, and everyone knows that Peter does not make mistakes. And Ollie, G-d help her decides to help him find out who is behind it. Finally there is the matter of her love life; Tom, her ex and the head of the Presidential detail, seems to have moved on. And maybe Ollie has too? It seems there could be someone special in her life, but can they make a go of it? Will their mutually demanding jobs keep them apart? Or will something else come between?
Ollie is more than capable of dealing with the double murder, the 24 hour secret service protection, the ever annoying Virgil and his big head, and believe it or not, even Peter. But can she deal with the fact that it appears some very high-ranking public figure wants her, Ollie Paras, Executive Chef at the White House, dead?
Affairs of Steak, the fifth book in the White House Chef Mystery series (see State of The Onion, Hail To The Chef, Eggsecutive Orders & Buffalo West Wing) once again brings you into the heart of the house - the kitchen. And so what if that house just happens to be the most important house in the United States - the White House? Julie Hyzy has created a culinary delight that will appeal to all of your senses, making this an affair to remember.