Kitchen Princess Book 1

An orphan girl is a great cook with an amazing sense of taste. As a young child, her life was saved by a boy who left behind only a silver spoon with the crest of a prestigious school. Now, she’s worked hard to get into the school to try to find him.

I was expecting fun things from this series, because I love cooking. Sadly, I found the first two chapters shallow. Everything happened too quickly, with no room for emotional impact or reflection. I thought the presentation was flat.

Kitchen Princess Book 1 cover
Kitchen Princess Book 1
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Since I felt uninvolved, I started getting distracted by small things. Like why, on her first day at an important school, Najika was wearing black lace petticoats, fishnet tights, and fishnet elbow-length gloves. It looked more like a retro Madonna costume than a reasonable outfit for a new student.

Anyway, she encounters the student body president and his brother, who provide romance potential. Her school is for those with exceptional skills and includes a painter, musicians, those talented at sports, and a model (the jealous rival, of course). She’s hazed, but her outstanding cooking and patience and love when it comes to food begin winning the students over. She’s got the ability to remember anything she’s ever tasted and to recreate it, if necessary. Soon enough she’s making over a local dive so she has somewhere to cook.

After she begins cooking, I enjoyed the book more. The illustrated kitchen sequences are key to the story, and recipes for everything she makes are included at the end of the book. The love of food is something I appreciate reading about, and the heroine is correct in insisting that the right dish can work magic and shared meals are special.

The standard shojo plot elements — school rival, potential romance — are generic, and the attention paid to food didn’t quite make up for it, but I’m willing to try another volume to see if things improve. Overall, it reminded me of the forgotten Sarah Michelle Gellar film Simply Irresistible, another story of a young chef whose love of food has near-magical effects on those who taste it. (A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.)

11 Comments

  1. [...] very different books, vol. 1 of Hana-Kimi and vol. 2 of Mail. Johanna Draper Carlson reviews vols. 1 and 2 of Kitchen Princess. At the Mangamaniaccafe, Julie checks out vol. 4 of Real/Fake Princess. [...]

  2. [...] also finds out who her secret young friend was (as set up in the first book), but it’s not necessarily the answer she was expecting. He keeps setting her life in new [...]

  3. I REALLY like this book, it’s really really fun. I can’t wait to read book no. 2!

  4. I just read book number 2! I WAS SSUUPPEERR DDUUPPEERR FUN! I really really enjoy it. I think Natsumi Ando writes super books, I enjoy Sugar Sugar Rune too!

  5. me can give you other good books.
    chibi vampire
    pearl pink
    pichi pichi pitch
    mommtte lollipop
    kilala princess

    my over all fav is still kitchen princess!!!!

  6. [...] Here I Am from Pixie Pop creator Ema Toyama and an intriguingly dark-sounding shojo offering from Kitchen Princess creator Natusmi Ando called Arisa. Fans of pulled TOKYOPOP series Rave Master will be pleased to [...]

  7. [...] new story is a novel using characters from the manga series by the same creators. Each of the four sections of the book ends with a new recipe, and each [...]

  8. [...] review and the podcast) very enlightening. It explained to me a convention used in such shojo as Kitchen Princess, where a young, usually orphan, girl, is seeking her future based on figuring out the full meaning [...]

  9. [...] previously passed by this series, the newest from Natsumi Ando (Kitchen Princess), because of its lame-duck status, as one of the last releases from the now-departed Del Rey Manga. [...]

  10. [...] to be a second printing. They are upping the print run on future volumes to 100,000. Genshiken and Kitchen Princess will be back in print in omnibus format. They announced two new titles, Miles Edgeworth: Ace [...]

  11. [...] two I want to draw your attention to are two Omnibus reprint collections. Miyuki Kobayashi’s Kitchen Princess returns with a book collecting the first two volumes of the series ($14.99, due June 6, MAR12 [...]

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