Sweet Navidad (2022 Lifetime)

Sweet Navidad

Sweet Navidad (2022 Lifetime)

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Cast: Camila Banus, Mark Hapka, David Fumero

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Synopsis (via Lifetime)

Lovable pastry chef Carmen (Banus) dreams of opening her own Puerto Rican-influenced bakery—like the one her family owned on the island. In the meantime, she showcases her treats at a local coffee shop. When hotel owner Victor Flores (Fumero) discovers Carmen’s talents, he invites her to apply for a position as pastry chef for his hotel’s holiday gala. Knowing other applicants will have culinary-school backgrounds, as opposed to her homegrown skills, Carmen reluctantly applies. When she is accepted, she’s paired with chef Jax (Hapka) to curate the perfect holiday menu. But the two do not mix well. Carmen is messy and cooks from the heart; Jax is a perfectionist fixated on technique. As they race against the clock to assemble their intricate holiday menu, sparks fly, and they realize they might have more to learn from one another than they initially thought.

Recap/Wine Thoughts

Carmen wears a Meghan Markel hat and happily (Like dancing and spinning around) cooks at a local cafe owned by her family while her sister Rita shops with Abuela. Regular customers Victor and Shirley stop in for some sweet roles, and they tell her about a job opportunity. It is for a chef at The Victor Hotel, which is hosting a five-star Christmas event. Carmen doesn’t want to apply, but Pilar and her family won’t take no for an answer.

Carmen goes to the interview but becomes nervous and turns to leave, spilling her cookies when she bumps into a handsome man. When she goes inside and sees the competition. The handsome man’s name is Jax, and he cooks with his sous chef Ben. There are other contestants for the job interview who are up for an executive chef and pastry chef. Carmen is overwhelmed and didn’t realize she signed up to be on an episode of Chopped. 

The chefs cook on brand-new cookware in a brief cooking montage. Then they present their dishes. Everyone has well-plated dishes, and Carmen serves a rum cake with a poinsettia in the middle. 

Jax wins the executive chef, and Carmen wins the pastry chef job! They are tasked with planning the menu for the event together! It is a tough position for Carmen because she feels like she lacks experience. She makes up lies to Jax about what culinary school she went to and says she has some ideas about what to make for the event, but stalls and ask to plan the menu the next day.

Carmen is late for work, and Jax tells her that he is she shouldn’t be there. His friend Ben should be there instead. Carmen wants to wing it and cook from the heart. Jax is not cooking without a plan and asks her to tell him the truth about cooking for a party this size. Carmen cracks and tells him she doesn’t have as much experience. He suggests that Carmen stick to pastry, and he will do the main course. 

When they finally get into the kitchen, Carmen puts on music and tries to keep the dancing to a minimum. They talk about their families and how they gained a love of cooking. Jax is distracted by Carmen’s messiness. 

After the menu doesn’t come together, Carmen invites Jax to her family dinner, so he can try authentic Puerto Rican food. He enjoys the mean and her family. 

The following day, they go shopping at a Christmas market, and Jax tries an empanada and says it is the best he has ever had. Carmen tells Jax that it is the chef’s passion that he is tasting. They start compromising in the kitchen and compose an eclectic menu. 

Rita decides she wants to move home to Puerto Rico and sell the cafe. Carmen and her sister a devastated. The drama of the cafe cause Carmen to lose focus in the kitchen. She forgets to make a shopping list for dinner. Carmen asks to leave early to the cafe and takes Jax to join her to go shopping and cook guava pastellitos with her to cheer up her sister. 

Jax and Carmen make a tasting menu for Shirley and Victor, but something is off. It sends Jax into a spiral. He shows Carmen his boarded-up failed restaurant. He doesn’t want to fail again, and Carmen tells him she will ensure he is successful.

They cook in the kitchen, and THIS time Carmen makes Jax dance with him. He starts having fun and spends Christmas even with Carmen and her family. They stay up all night dancing and singing. Jax has never experienced a Christmas like this. Carmen admits that she’s never been to culinary school, and he tells her that he has always known. 

On Christmas day, they exchange thoughtful gifts but quickly get into an argument when Carmen realizes she forgot to put in her shopping list and has no items to cook the meal they planned. (Which is a huge deal!) Jax tells her that he knew she would mess it all up. Carmen storms off, crying.

Carmen calls her family, and they help her shop for ingredients. Pilar and Ben jump in to help at the hotel kitchen. Carmen and Jax make up quickly and share that they have feelings for one another. 

Victor and Shirley are impressed with the menu, and so is everyone else! Carment and Jax take over the cafe and run it with their hearts. The End!

Side Note

Director Britney Underwood makes a small cameo at the movie’s beginning as a customer at the cafe. 

Minority Report:  The cast is a majority of Black and Latine actors. 

This movie featured cooking, which I love, so it was good for me!


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Christmas Trees represent Christmas vibes. *** I’ve updated the rating system. Wine is overall enjoyment (NOT a value judgment) on a 1-5 scale.

 I will use the following tags for those who want to know if they should watch or skip: Pour it Up (Would Recommend) or Put A Cork In It (Would Not Recommend). 

Overall rating

Christmas Feels

🎄🎄🎄 (3 Christmas Trees)

Enjoyment Level: 🍷 🍷 🍷 (3 glasses of wine.)

What did you think of the movie? Let me know in the comments or on social media @LifetimeUncorked

*Photo Credit: © 2022 Lifetime

Live tweet along with @LifetimeUncork using the hashtag #SweetNavidad #ItsAWonderfulLifetime

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