Brave Chef Brianna tackles the world of restaurants and cooking in a highly inventive and fun new series from the KaBoom! imprint. Sam Sykes has smashed together Ratatouille and Monsters, Inc. to come up with something that the Pixar people wish they could have invented. Welcome to the greatest chef challenge of a generation.
Brianna has a problem. Her father, a famous chef with an empire of restaurants, cookbooks, and tv shows is dying. Only one of his many children will inherit his multi-channel empire and legacy and in classic style the heir will be decided by a challenge. All of the kids have to start a new restaurant in a different city with their own money. The one with the best restaurant before father dies gets everything.
Brianna, having just graduated from culinary school, doesn’t have the money that her more established brothers have from their existing restaurants. She picks Monster City as the place where she’ll start her restaurant, mainly because it is the only place she can afford. Monster City isn’t just a name, it is literally a city inhabited mainly by monsters. It also has an added wrinkle of laws that monsters can’t eat flour, sugar or meat.
Is Brianna up to the challenge? Can she and her bird monster employee, Suzan, get monsters to try food cooked by a human? We’ll find out.
The art by Selina Espiritu and Sarah Stern really make this book. There are several wordless sequences that carry the heart and soul of this book perfectly. I haven’t see so much emotion invested into making a cake since Mildred Pierce.
Pay attention to the details for fun surprises. Espiritu and Stern embed the scenes with many fun throwaway jokes in the background. But more than jokes, they convey her doubts and anxieties in ways that feel real. You get that Brianna and Suzan and invested in their restaurant for more than just Daddy’s prize.
Many times, when people say that a comic book was written for kids but adult will enjoy it too, they mean that there are jokes that play at being kinda dirty, but will go over the kids’ heads. Here is it just a fun story that everyone can enjoy because despite the fantastic (in both senses of the word) setting, the characters are charming and relatable to people of all ages.
Oh and read to the very end for a recipe that follows the Monster City rules from a real celebrity chef. I would have made it, but I don’t own a waffle iron.
Writer: Sam Sykes
Artist: Selina Espiritu
Colorist: Sarah Stern
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: KaBoom!/Boom! Studios