It’s 1990, and some critics believe that America’s most celebrated chef, Joseph Soderini di Avenzano, cut a deal with the Devil to achieve fame and fortune. Whether he is actually Bocuse or Beelzebub, Avenzano is approaching the twenty-fifth anniversary of his glittering Palm Beach restaurant, Chateau de la Mer, patterned after the Michelin-starred palaces of Europe.
Journalist David Fox arrives in Palm Beach to interview the chef for a story on the restaurant’s silver jubilee and quickly becomes involved with Chateau de la Mer’s hostess, Alessandra, unwittingly transforming himself into Avenzano’s rival. When the chef invites David to winter in Florida and write his authorized biography, he gradually becomes sucked into the restaurant’s vortex—shipments of cocaine coming up from the Caribbean; the Mafia connections and unexplained murder of the chef’s original partner; and the chef’s ravenous ex-wives, swirling in the background like a hidden coven. As Alessandra plots the demise of the chef, David tries to sort out hallucination and reality, while Avenzano plays with him like a feline’s catnip-stuffed toy.