Cooking with Love (2018 Hallmark Channel)

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Cooking with Love

Stars: Ali Liebert & Brett Dalton

Synopsis (via Hallmark)

Hardworking and optimistic television producer, Kelly, doesn’t have time for love. Along with her mentor Amanda, Kelly dives into another season of The Little Gourmet, a kids cooking show, when hot-headed Chef Stephen drops into Kelly’s life as a last-minute replacement host. As the two struggle to make peace and a successful show, they realize they have a lot more in common than they thought—a love of food, the kids they encounter, and each other.

 

Thoughts

Kelly is a reality show producer (we know this because she wears airport headphones) with a heart of gold. Oxymoron much? She is a people-pleaser and just the nicest person. I mean she works with kids on a kid cooking show, The Little Gourmet. When Chef Betty slips a disk in her back the production team is tasked with a finding a replacement. Instead of going with the sweet red-headed Canadian chef, they go with hot-headed Stephen Harris. Stephen throws spaghetti on a food critic at his restaurant, but he would be good for social media engagement!  

Stephen’s manager, Adam, comes to the restaurant to convince him to do the kids’ cooking show. It will improve his image because his book tour has been cancelled and restaurant is less popular than ever. This is his opportunity to show the world he isn’t such a bad guy!

On set, Stephen and Kelly don’t hit it off. He is a total diva and refuses to wear the chef Boyardee hat (A Toque!), only cooks with copper pans, and won’t talk with the kids off camera. Since things aren’t going so well, Kelly is assigned to babysit Stephen by Amanda, her lady boss (who is moving on to an executive position and this will be her last season on The Little Gourmet). It is also revealed that Jeremy, the new guy, is up for the lady boss’s job, superseding Kelly’s rank/experience.

At a farmers market, Stephen tries convince Kelly to elevate the menu with things like radicchio. She tells him he needs to connect with the kids, because they are chefs… just like him! So they make hamburgers and sloppy joes! He gets what he wants and radicchio is added to the show! Too bad, his personality isn’t. Kelly tells him to try smiling, but it is terrifying. He won’t even let the kids make mistakes (it is a reality show); he just takes over for them.

Stephen is creeply listening to Kelly as she talks to a kid contestant and then later reads her idea notebook. He tries to talk her into pitching an idea. Later, In a production meeting, Kelly pitches the dea of doing Hometowns… just like The Bachelor. Basically, they would film on location with the kid’s families. Jeremy doesn’t like it (he is a hater), but Amanda does and greenlights the idea!

On set at the firehouse, Kelly is HEAVILY being flirted with by a fireman (Rick) while Stephen jealously, watches on. Right before filming the big chili cook off, Cody (one of the kid contestants) decides he wants to quit the show. He is worried he will let his dad down. Stephen talks him down by sharing a personal story about the time her cooked a burnt turkey for his dad. Kelly is impressed and maybe even falling in love??? After a successful day of filming they call a truce.

Out of the kindness of his own heart, Stephen takes Kelly to the kitchen to cook. She admits she doesn’t really cook, I mean she DOES make a “mean tray of ice.” They cook a sexy pizza together, somehow without getting into a flour fight! While they’re cooking, we learn that Stephen was an army brat who moved around a lot growing up. Jeremy totally interrupts just as things are getting hot and heavy (and by hot and heavy I mean Stephen touches Kelly’s face). Then Jeremy steals Kelly’s idea notebook!!!!!!!!

In case you forgot, this is a Valentine’s Day movie. Stephen and Kelly both realize they don’t have plans and awkwardly agree to meet at Stephen’s restaurant on Valentine’s Day. It is not a date though, it is a work thing. Kelly’s co-worker helps her get ready, she was going to wear jeans and a sweater!!! (We do NOT get a getting ready montage, so that was disappointing.)

At Stephen’s restaurant, Kelly is in red dress. (I’d say it was sexy, but it was pretty conservative.) Over dinner, Stephen and Kelly share more about each other. We learn that Kelly’s mom passed away four years ago and worked with kids too. That is why Kelly is so good with kids, but she wants to do more—make a real difference. Later, on a stroll through the city, they eat chocolates that the kids made, Stephen buys her flowers (Yellow for friendship…), and they talk about relationships and love finding you when your ready for it. Stephen walks Kelly to her door and tells her that he is glad he is working with her on the show—instead of kissing her.     

Kelly makes a home cooked meal! (Spaghetti with meatballs and chocolate chip cookies.) This time we get a montage. Kelly calls Stephen to tell him the good news. They have witty banter and after hanging up Stephen receives a call from his manager. Chef Betty is back and Chef Stephen is out.

Kelly immediately goes to the restaurant to invite Stephen to the taping of the grand finale, but he is flying out to LA for a new show he got to cross promote his new cookbook. He thanks her for everything because none of these new opportunities would be happening if it wasn’t for her.

Back at work, Kelly walks into a meeting where Jeremy is successfully pitching her ideas from the idea notebook. Kelly confronts Jeremy in the hallway; he denies everything and tells her that if she had the same ideas that she should have shared them sooner. Defeated and alone, Kelly receives a thank you card (A Hallmark Card, of course) from Tommy the first winner of The Little Gourmet.

At the grand finale, Stephen stops by (I thought he had a flight to LA??) to tell Kelly that he is offering an apprenticeship at his restaurant to the winner. While filming the LIVE episode, Chef Betty throws her back out picking up some peppers. (Seriously!) Kelly chases after Stephen to get him to host the show. Chef Becca wins! (Rightly so, because she shared her chocolate with Cody, who forgot to grab his.)

Jeremy’s sneaky notebook stealing gets found out and Kelly gets the rightful credit and the promotion! Kelly tells Stephen about her promotion and he tells her that he is turning down the LA gig to stay in town. He could say goodbye to New York, but not Kelly. He gives her a single rose and they kiss.

Side Note

Ali Liebert’s first starring Hallmark role was A Gift to Remember. (She has played the best friend role in MANY MANY TV Movies.)

Cooking Fact? “A julienne cut is ⅛ inch cut no more, no less!”

I didn’t hate the kids in this one, I guess child actors are better when they aren’t obsessed with Santa and snow.

First Hallmark movie I’ve seen where the girl gets the guy, promotion, AND he changes HIS plans to fit into her life.

Overall rating

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️  (4 Hearts)

🍷🍷 (2 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2018 Crown Media United States, LLC

February TV Movie Guide (Hallmark & Lifetime)

Get ready for THREE Valentine’s Day offerings from Hallmark this year. Plus Lifetime is offering up a Simon Biles bio pic, just in time for the Olympics!

We will be covering them all in Season 2 of the podcast! (Starting Feb 8th.)

My Secret Valentine (Hallmark Channel)

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Premieres: Saturday, February 3 9/8c (on Hallmark Channel)

Stars: Lacey Chabert and Andrew Walker

Synopsis (via Hallmark)

A young woman takes advice from the chalkboard notes that her mysterious house rental tenant leaves when a slick sales rep arrives with plans to buy her family’s prized winery!

Thoughts

Two of my FAVORITE Hallmark actors together in one movie?!?! Also, they are in a winery?!?!?  “Pour it Up”

 


Simone Biles: Courage to Soar (Lifetime)

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Premieres: Saturday, February 3 8/7c (on Lifetime)

Stars: Jeanté Godlock, Tisha Campbell-Martin, and Julius Tennon

Synopsis (via Lifetime)

Based on her book, Courage To Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance, the biopic follows Simone Biles through her sacrifices and hard work that lead her to win 19 Olympic and World Championship medals and cemented her stake as one of the greatest gymnasts of all-time. Biles’ journey from foster care to the Olympic podium is full of life experiences that serve as an inspiration for every little girl with a dream.

Thoughts

I was extremely excited for a gymnastics Lifetime Movie, especially if it is about Olympic GOLD medalist, Simone Biles. (Who is currently training for Tokyo 2020.)  However, with the Larry Nasser scandal I’m not sure Lifetime will handle the topic with tact or even at all. “Let it Breathe”


Very, Very, Valentine (Hallmark Channel)

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Premieres: Saturday, February 10 9/8c (on Hallmark Channel)

Stars: Danica McKellar, Cameron Mathison, and Damon Runyan

Synopsis (via Hallmark)

When Helen, a kind hearted and shy florist, meets the perfect man at a Valentine’s Masquerade Ball she enlists the help of her best friend Henry to track him down only to find that her perfect man may already be right in front of her.

Thoughts

So, this is reverse Cinderella? I’m here for that! That candelabra in this picture is gaudy as hell! (And is that repurposed Christmas decorations? No, Hallmark!) I’m going to have to “Put a cork in it.”


Cooking with Love (Hallmark Channel)

Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 9.41.55 AM.pngPremieres: Sunday February 11 9/8c (on Hallmark Channel)

Stars: Ali Liebert & Brett Dalton

Synopsis (via Hallmark)

Optimistic and cheerful TV producer, Kelly, doesn’t have time for love. Bad boy celebrity chef, Stephen, doesn’t have time for anything besides cooking. Fun with a side of love ensues as Kelly and Stephen are paired on a children’s cooking show.

Thoughts

I liked Ali Liebert in A Gift to Remember. Will I like her is she is not playing the Sandra Bullock role in While You Were Sleeping? “Let it Breathe”


*Photo Credit: © 2018 Crown Media United States, LLC

*Photo Credit: © 2018 Lifetime

Morning Show Mystery: Mortal Mishaps (2018 Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)

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Morning Show Mystery: Mortal Mishaps

Stars: Holly Robinson Peete & Rick Fox

Synopsis (via Hallmark)

Billie Blessings has gone from beloved chef, restaurant owner, and morning show segment host to #1 suspect in a murder case when one of the executives at the network dies from poisoning. When the head chef at Billie’s restaurant is arrested and held as a suspect, Billie takes matters into her own hands by digging deeper into a mystery that could incriminate people close to her while risking her own life in the process

Thoughts

I’m not familiar with this genre of TV movie, I’m not sure how Hallmark will pull of a G-rated murder mystery. I’m basically only watching this because HRP is their first black actor in a leading role… ever? So, here we go!  

As the opening credits role we see a mystery person in a gas mask baking a rat poison cake. Then cut to Billie Blessings (HRP) who is a TV chef who is filling in for Wake Up, West Coast TV morning show anchor. (Laney, who recently died from a hazelnut allergy.)  There is so much exposition it is hard to keep up. Lance is the male co-host, Rudy is a producer who wanted Billie to be the co-anchor and is fighting with his ex/boss (Gretchen), there is a assistant, and a camera guy. Everyone wants to eat the cake (Which is poison, but no one know it.)

Then we also meet, Aunt Kassandra, who wants Billie to start focusing on dating and make her restaurant a priority. Maurice, the head chef of Billie’s restaurant.

Producer Rudy is at his apartment, when he receives a cake from Blessings (Billie’s restaurant) that says “congratulations.” When he goes to his wine cellar to get some afternoon wine, he sees “RIP” scrawled in red on his wine fridge. Rudy arrives at the big TV network dinner disoriented and ill looking. As he makes the big announcement of who the new co-host will be he dies! The restaurant is immediately closed because the paramedics on scene determines it is cyanide poisoning. Cue the police on scene to investigate the murder. Lucky for Billie it is her old high school boyfriend, Ian, AND they are both newly single.

The next morning at the TV show, the new co-host is there. It’s Tiffany Moon, a girl with no experience and crippling stage fright. (Perfect choice, Rudy.) Billie talks to her and gives her advice like:

“If your asked a question you don’t know the answer to, repeat the question to buy yourself more time.”

Even mediocre advice can’t keep Billie on set, Gretchen (who is now the new producer) fires her. Back at the restaurant Maurice is taken into custody because he sent the cake to Rudy. Later, at the precinct Maurice admits to finding cyanide in the restaurant and hiding it in his car. (He didn’t want Billie to get in trouble.)

Billie, Aunt Cassandra, Assistant girl (Kiki), camera guy (Phil), and waiter man (Juan, of course.) all get together over coffee and pie (This is Hallmark, after all.) to figure out who done it. They create a list and star system for people with motives. Billie is on the case and goes to the investigate. She bumps into Ian and they compare notes, I was hoping in a flirty way but it turns out to be pretty tense and confrontational

While retrieving Maurice’s dog from his building, Billie takes cyanide from under his sink and hides it in her purse. When she gets home she finds “Stay out of this” written on a mirror with red lipstick (?) Billie doesn’t heed the warning and meets with Tiffany Mood to see if her and Rudy were dating. They weren’t but Tiffany is convinced that she is next to be murdered.

In between murder investigation and saving her restaurant, Billie and Ian share a romantic dinner. They catch up on what they’ve missed in each others lives and what could have been. Only to be interrupted by Maurice, who is now out of jail! Maurice learns that Billie is now the number one suspect.

Billie turns the tables on the situation and goes on air to confront Tiffany. She gets her to admit that she is being harrassed and then she tells everyone that Laney might not have had an allergic reaction, she was poisoned too. The police double down on Billie as suspect numero uno.

Things get crazy at this point. The Camera Guy (Evan) gets hit over the head and almost exploded in his house, thankfully Billie saves him. (Don’t worry, she is still a suspect.) Tiffany leaves a note that she is leaving town. Because, live TV is too stressful… not all the MURDERING?!?! Billie and assistant Kiki, track Tiffany down and take her to Rudy’s apartment to get the evidence to convict her for murder. Before they can, Billie and Tiffany are locked in the wine cellar and Kiki is “attacked.” Ian (Maybe the worst cop ever?) comes to save them but Billie ask for two more hours to solve the case.

Billie is convinced a recording has the evidence to prove who murdered Rudy and Laney. At the TV station, Billie is trying to log into Rudy’s computer when (Spoiler) the assistant pulls a gun on her. She had access to all of Billies passwords and keys, and she has the motive of wanting to be a co-house of West Coast TV. Kiki is apprehended by Ian and all is good. Billie and Ian summarize all this in a romantic chat on the terrace. Setting up successful (but predictable) new franchise for Hallmark.

Side Note

I didn’t hate this movie! HRP and Rick Fox has great chemistry. I also LOVED LOVED Aunt Cassandra. (Karen Robinson)

This is the first starring role for HRP in a Hallmark movie. She was previously the token black friend in “Angel of Christmas” in 2015 and “Christmas in Evergreen” in 2017.

Rick Fox is a fox.

Al Roker made a cameo. He apparently co-wrote the novel this movie is based on.

Random Note: I’m not too familiar with any of the mystery series on Hallmark, but apparently Lacey Chabert is set to star in “The Crossword Mystery,” about a brilliant crossword puzzle editor who helps a police detective (Brennan Elliott) solve crimes? By using crossword puzzles? Please explain this to me.

 

Overall rating

🔎 🔎 🔎  (3 Magnifying Glasses)

🍷🍷🍷🍷 (4 glasses of wine required)

*Photo Credit: © 2018 Crown Media United States, LLC