The Dancing Turkey

I thought I’d write a bit about my third novel which is still in progress, but I find myself, instead, wanting to tell you about the evening I spent last Friday at the Moutgrove Bothy in Finsbury park where chef, Luke Hunns, was demonstrating his amazing culinary skills.


Mountgrove Bothy in Finsbury Park

Luke is normally to be found  at The Chiltern Firehouse, a trendy restaurant in London where the ‘beautiful people’ hang out, so I felt quite privilidged to be able to chat to him about his menu in more casual surroundings. He told me how he’d tweeted Nuno Mendes at the Chiltern Firehouse to see if he was recruiting – he was, and Luke’s career path was set. Luke is now part of the team as a sous chef with responsibility for a team of co-workers and he loves his job. Anyway, back to the Mountgrove Bothy where the evening was kicking off and Luke was putting the finishing touches to his menu. I wished him luck but don’t think he needed it; every aspect of the evening was covered to make sure there were no glitches. As the evening progressed, we had some interesting and beautifully presented, delicious taster plates.


Sea Bream with radish and camomile

What struck me the most – apart from the amazing food, was how incredibly hard Luke worked, being a whirlwind of activity, whilst always having a moment to discuss his food or just to chat to the clientele. It made me realise that the chef in my novel, who seemed to spend most of his evening  puffing  smoke from his Gauloise cigarettes out of the window while occasionally tasting the food, was a far cry from how a real chef worked and Jake, my handsome chef, needed to get his arse into gear.


I’d initially named this novel Musical Chairs and then The Dating Game as it was about a woman stuck on an eternal cycle of dating – going around and around, trying to find somewhere to rest her weary heart. But as the novel progressed, I found it hard to relate to any of the men and actually the business of dating was a tad boring. Until I discovered ‘the one’. My flawed chef wasn’t even looking for love but I knew he was going to be the one to put the sparkle back in my heroine’s eyes. Of course he was not in the dating game at all – but that’s the course of true love for you – it never runs smoothly!

Any pudding is good for me- this was my idea of heaven!

I deleted over fifteen thousand words of this novel to get it back on track, which broke my heart, more than my heroine’s when she found her boyfriend in bed with a drag queen. My handsome chef now actually does some cooking and the heroine, who is an actress, finally gets away from being a dancing turkey outside Asda. I also relocated both of them to St Albans, a city that I love and where my niece, who just happens to be an actress lives. (Don’t think she’s ever been a dancing turkey though!)


Watch this space for the release of the, as yet unnamed book number three- I’m guessing The Dancing Turkey might be a bit daft for a title! Next time I hope to bring you a cover reveal and date for my second novel, The Magic of Stars which is just waiting in the wings for the final touches to its cover. I’m quite excited if I say so myself!


St Albans Cathedral


About Jackie Ladbury

I write heart-warming contemporary romcoms and historical women’s fiction that is always guaranteed a happy ever after. From spending many years as an air-stewardess and seeing that it really is love that makes the world go around, I determined to put the same sparkle and emotion into my stories. My life is no longer as exotic (or chaotic) as it was in those heady days of flying around the world as I live a quiet life in Hertfordshire with my beautiful family and two pesky cats. Air Guitar and Caviar and The Magic of Stars are airline based novels and Christmas Kisses on Hollywell Hill is a stand-alone feel-good Christmas romance set in St Albans. The Potter's Daughter was published by Choc Lit/Ruby Fiction in February 2019 and Happy Christmas Eve was published Christmas 2019 by Ruby fiction/ Choc Lit.
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3 Responses to The Dancing Turkey

  1. Jane Risdon says:

    Fascinating experience and so useful to you I am sure.


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