Cooking Up Christmas (2020 OWN)
Synopsis (via OWN)
Meagan Holder (“Pitch”) stars in this family-centric holiday story as Chloe, an Atlanta-based chef at a fine dining restaurant who gets fired just weeks before Christmas and reluctantly takes a job with pro baseball player Donovan Jackson (OWN’s “Greenleaf” star Lamman Rucker), who is a single dad of three needing a live-in-chef to get him through the holidays with the kids. Chloe only takes the job in order to save up enough capital to live out her dream of opening her own restaurant, but soon finds herself caught up in the ups and downs of the Jacksons encounter during her residency. Throughout the Jackson household’s holiday season, the importance of family and Chloe’s good Southern cooking are two constants that remain. As Christmas comes to an end, Chloe discovers that her lifelong dream might finally come true… and that her heart has a mind of its own.
Chloe is an award-winning chef who runs a failing restaurant. The owner of the restaurant, Mark, fires her right before Christmas. Chloe talks with her co-worker, April, who sets her up with a nanny job for a professional athlete named Donovon Jackson.
Donovon is intense. He is training his kids, Vanessa, DJ, and Lindsey, in the front yard before school. Son, DJ, isn’t into baseball and wants to sing in the choir. Vanessa is obsessed with social media, and Lindsey just wants to decorate for Christmas.
When Chloe arrives, she sees Donovon running in slow motion. Swoon. She is clued in by Buck, Donovon’s pitching coach; the family is on a healthy diet and has struggled since Donovon’s wife’s passing. In case it isn’t clear. Donovon shows Chloe a chart of diet restrictions. No carbs, no sugar, no fun. It’s the holidays! Live a little.
Chloe tries to work with the restrictions, and it works pretty well! Donovon is upset that her meals aren’t healthy, but she breaks it down and proves that healthy doesn’t have to be a steamed chicken breast and broccoli. When she gets a little too snobby with her menu, Buck sets her straight. He wants her to cook southern food to bring this family back together.
When she isn’t cooking, Chloe connects with the children and listens to their problems. She helps the family decorate for the holidays and even encourages DJ to sing a lovely version of “Silent Night.” The whole family joins in, which is sweet. Then the family turns their morning workouts into a fun competition.
Donovon takes Chloe to the batting cages, and it turns out that Chloe went to college on a softball scholarship. Donovon takes a swing at a ball and aggravates a shoulder injury. Someone makes a video and posts it online. It puts his career in jeopardy because Donovon is resigning his contract and might be replaced by a younger baseball player named Carlos.
Dolores, Donovon’s mother, arrives for the holidays and is hypercritical of everything. She also invites an ex-girlfriend named Shavonne and attempts to matchmake. Then she decides not is the appropriate time to tell Donovon that Buck is his father!!!!??? Dolores is just her to disrupt things; she isn’t even likable.
Christmas Eve, Shavonne re-decorates the house to e more trendy. She gives Vanessa a makeover into a mini version of her. Then she rudely criticizes Lindsey for her appearance. The kids put laxatives in her food, causing her to freak out. Donovon kicks her out of the house, and Dolores admits she was wrong to invite her.
Mother and son have a conversation. Dolores explains that she was heartbroken when Buck broke up with her before she knew she was pregnant. She refused to talk with him for years and kept her son away from him. She eventually felt bad and eventually let him back in his son’s life as a baseball coach. Donovon forgives his mother and eventually Buck as well.
Christmas morning, Vanessa cooks breakfast and has come around. Chloe re-decorates the house to include their mother’s decorations. Donovan gives his kids gifts, including a science wing on the house, digital camera, and he allows his son to go to a college without a baseball team. He then makes a Christmas announcement that he is retiring from Professional baseball.
The family shares a meal around the dinner table. Donovan thanks Chloe for making their Christmas a special one he gifts her a new cafe. Vanessa creates a social media account/website for her fantastic recipes. No kiss here; they just share a meal.
Minority Report: The entire cast features Black actors.
🎄🎄🎄 (3 Christmas Trees)
🍷🍷🍷 (3 glasses of wine required.)
*Photo Credit: © 2020 OWN