Disclosure: If you buy products using the retailer buttons above, we may earn a commission from the retailers you visit.
Opportunity is what you make it in this up-beat and inspiring YA about food, friendship, and being true to yourself.
Peyton Sinclaire wants nothing more than to escape her life as a diner waitress in her small, North Florida town, attend culinary school, and become a professional baker. So when Food TV sends out a call for Top Teen Chef, its newest show that pairs reality TV drama with a fast-paced culinary competition, Peyton knows this is her best chance to make her dreams come true and a chance to prove to herself and the world that where you’re born does not determine where you can go. However, Peyton quickly discovers that the network is more interested in ratings and drama than a properly seasoned steak, and that there is more than just the other competitors standing between her and the culinary school scholarship that goes to the winner of the competition.
After she is given a stereotyped and scripted “storyline” — which exploits the poverty and difficulties of her childhood — she is given two choices: play the role the producers gave her or get a one-way ticket back home. As the competition begins to heat up, Peyton wonders if her culinary skills are enough to keep impressing the judges and if any of the other contestants are playing up their roles, like she is, to keep from being eliminated. Desperate to prove she deserves to win and struggling to find a balance between playing her part and making friends with her fellow contestants, Peyton must decide how far she is willing to go and what she is willing to sacrifice in order to win.