Brave Chef Brianna
Brave Chef Brianna highlights the struggles of a young woman to recognize her own skills in a fantasy setting. Brianna is the youngest daughter of a chef with an empire of cookbooks and TV shows. He knows his time is passing, so he sets up a competition among his children, to start a successful restaurant.
Brianna can cook, but she suffers from some mix of depression and anxiety, an inner monologue symbolized by a floating dark shape that tells her she’s “not good enough” (a great use of comic visuals). She doesn’t really want to compete with her brothers, who all have more ego and more experience.
So she winds up in Monster City, which is populated by literal monsters, where she hires Suzan, a harpy. She works hard to bring her vision of a restaurant to reality, but she doesn’t realize that there are different laws in another locality. She has to figure out how to manage staff she also wants to be friends with and cope with rivalry, both from Madame Cron, the local master chef, and her brother Hans and his food truck.
As written by Sam Sykes and illustrated by Selina Espiritu, the approach is open and friendly. Brianna is all soft lines and curves, which makes her look approachable. The city is populated with imaginative creatures, and it’s easy to tell what everyone’s feeling. Brianna is an argument for change and co-existence, pitted against someone who wants to keep things the way they’ve always been.
If you think too hard about some of the story, you will have questions. Why, if dad wants to remind the kids of the importance of family, legacy, and loyalty, does he pit them against each other? Why does Suzan lie so easily? Is it really just a silly oversight that Brianna is feeding the Monster City citizens illegal ingredients, or could that lack of preparation have had serious consequences?
Overall, though, I was rooting for Brianna because she’s just so determined and good-hearted. Her struggle with family expectations is something many people can relate to, as is her drive to follow her dream.
I previously posted preview pages in my review of issue #1.
Brave Chef Brianna is now available for pre-order at your local comic shop with Diamond code AUG17 1361. It’s a 112-page color paperback collecting the four-issue miniseries with a list price of $14.99 due out December 6. (The publisher provided digital review copies of the issues.)