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Learn an Excerpt of The Lemon, a Novel by Boston Journal Alumni


Learn an excerpt of the novel, which they penned underneath the pseudonym SE Boyd.

Cowl of The Lemon by SE Boyd. / Courtesy of Penguin Random Home LLC

In The Lemona celebrated new novel written by Massachusetts natives and former Boston journal writers Kevin Alexander and Joe Keohane, with editor Alessandra Lusardi—a beloved bartender/creator/food-travel-TV-show host named John Doe dies underneath doubtful circumstances. His demise of him triggers a stampede of individuals within the meals, media, and leisure worlds, all attempting to both shield his legacy of him, or seize management of it to advance their very own pursuits.

One such character is Boston-born movie star chef Patrick Whelan. Once we meet him, he is effectively previous his prime de él, dwelling outdoors Vegas, and he simply acquired phrase that John Doe is lifeless.


CHEF PATRICK WHELAN did not choose up the decision. He wanted a minute. He’d recognized Doe because the late ’90s, when he employed Doe as head bartender at Áise, the 35-seat restaurant Whelan opened in Boston’s South Finish neighborhood when he was 28.

Irish for “Asia,” Áise was a testing kitchen for Patrick’s experiments using the flavors of his Irish-Catholic, suburban Boston upbringing in Weymouth, Massachusetts, and merging them along with his actual curiosity: Asian delicacies. His gyoza-style shepherd’s pie de él, with a wasabi mashed potato crust and a scallion-and-ginger-flecked floor pork filling, horrified his Irish mom de él however set the culinary world ablaze. Boston, which was lengthy thought of New York’s provincial culinary step-sibling, all of a sudden discovered itself celebrated by the nationwide meals media.

Although a couple of critics voiced concern {that a} younger white chef gave the impression to be cherry-picking random Asian substances in keeping with his whims, this was the ’90s and people voices had been drowned out amid the hype tsunami, particularly as soon as Patrick received three consecutive James Beard Awards , first for Rising Chef of the Yr, after which twice in a row for Excellent Chef.

Reservations for Áise grew to become practically unimaginable to get lower than six months upfront, although Patrick stored a small portion of the restaurant and bar space open for walk-ins. The blocks across the restaurant, traditionally Black and dealing class, gentrified shortly as wine and cocktail bars sprang as much as attempt to entice the crowds ready for Áise (an city research professor at Harvard even coined the time period “the Whelan impact” to explain his particular contribution to altering the neighborhood), and Black households and companies, for probably the most half, retreated southwest on Washington Avenue previous Ramsay Park.

Patrick was younger, personable, and good-looking, with simply sufficient of a Boston accent and working-class background to present his story the kind of pick-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps American Dream taste advertisers acquired scorching and bothered about, and he was quickly starring in nationwide commercials for American Specific, Hertz, and GMC. He had offers with Wüsthof to make use of their knives and a clothes producer to put on their chef’s coats and L.L.Bean to design a selected type of rubber-soled slipper to put on within the kitchen (as soon as they came upon by way of a Boston journal interview that he peculiarly wore their slippers when he cooked).

He was profiled in G.Q. and The New Yorker and was famously featured bare on the duvet of gourmand holding a sack of potatoes. He went from courting a bartender who labored on the Waterclub Marina Bay, to being romantically linked to Tiffani Amber Thiessen and Neve Campbell. I’ve acquired a reserving agent, a literary agent, a stylist, and a private assistant. He signed a cope with Paragon On line casino in Las Vegas to do a 350-seat model of Áise of their new resort with an unprecedented licensing deal that paid him $2 million up entrance, $100,000 a yr for the usage of his identify, menu, and recipes , and a small share of internet income and gross sales. Together with his windfall, he bought a 7,200-square-foot second dwelling in Henderson that allegedly was as soon as owned by Frank Sinatra, clad in yellow stucco that completely matched the colour of the gown Ava Gardner was sporting when she left him in 1957.

However then, one fateful day, he took a gathering with community studio executives. Patrick had all the time deliberate to open an Irish bar again in Boston along with his mom and name it The Pub, and within the midst of creating small speak, he instructed these executives about his plans.

They stated, “What if we filmed behind the scenes as you opened The Pub?”

And he stated, “I could not. It is a private venture with my mom.”

And so they stated, “Effectively, what if we lined all the prices of opening the restaurant, added one other $500,000 for you, and a money bonus on your mother?”

And he stated, “The world ought to actually meet her.”

This was early within the actuality TV sport, Patrick was naive, and the deal appeared nice outdoors of the truth that they insisted he open The Pub in New York. And so, on the peak of his fame, Patrick left Boston to return to New York Metropolis to open what was basically a normal Irish pub. It was an unmitigated catastrophe, however within the form of car-accident method the place you’ll be able to’t take your eyes off the display. Patrick seemed each a part of the egomaniacal, narcissistic movie star chef, and his mom, who was by no means comfortable concerning the opening in New York, appeared unhappy even for an Irishwoman.

All the present made his favorability rankings plummet in a means America hadn’t seen since Gary Hart. However it did one thing else. It launched the world to John Doe.

Solely showing in three episodes, Doe was a really small a part of the present, however there was one thing about him that caught the attention of one of many younger producers. There was a gradual burn to him, a hard-edged worldliness. However he was additionally considerate and witty and well-liked—the man the opposite staffers went to once they wished to speak by way of issues. He spent a lot of his time studying or writing issues down in a bit of pocket book and speaking books with a small clique of different literary-minded trade people. This was surprisingly irritating to Patrick. One of many final nights The Pub was open, Patrick seen Doe speaking to a girl on the finish of the bar. He listened in on their dialog about the perfect time of day to jot down, the way to get an agent, and whether or not they need to each shell out cash for some author’s convention in Vermont.

Unable to assist himself, Patrick interrupted.

“Fuck you going to jot down a ebook about?”

“Bars,” Doe replied.

“Effectively,” Patrick stated, getting as much as go away. “That feels like a silly fucking thought.”

The present ran for only one season and The Pub stayed open for under six extra months after that. The producer took Doe’s identify and filed it away. When Patrick lastly, mercifully shut The Pub down, Doe stayed in New York and wrote the ebook that may make him well-known. Patrick returned to Boston. Everybody assumed he would lick his wounds again within the kitchen of Áise. However this didn’t occur.

With no actual warning to employees or traders, Patrick closed the unique Áise in Boston, packed his stuff, offered his place in Weymouth, and completely made the transfer to his Vegas home (which an intrepid native reporter uncovered was not ever owned by Frank Sinatra however, the truth is, constructed by actor Corey Feldman in 1991 with cash constituted of voicing Donatello on the unique live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie). After which one thing much more exceptional occurred. Chef Patrick Whelan simply . . . stopped cooking.

At first, this was defined away. He was doing a cookbook. And judging a cooking present. Plus, he had his Vegas restaurant from him! Absolutely he cooked there. And for years there was a rumor, began by Patrick’s workforce, that he was going to do a completely new idea “unseen in North America” and as soon as once more blow the roof off the cooking world. That purchased him a while. So he did an Atkins model of his Áise cookbook from him. And one based mostly across the South Seaside food plan. And keto. And paleo. And, by some means, the Grasp Cleanse.

He had traces of cookware and ready-to-eat frozen dinners and a four-leaf-clover well being powder he acquired sued over when it was found it wasn’t really constituted of four-leaf clovers however simply spinach. He had a few cooking reveals, one by which he, sarcastically, judged Irish pubs in America. However as the unique Áise grew to become a distant reminiscence and the Paragon restaurant slipped from top-tier standing to a spot most routinely frequented by deal-seeking vacationers with calf tattoos from California’s Inland Empire, Patrick began to fall out with the meals world.

The person who had as soon as recognized what it was prefer to be an ideal sphere of fame’s scorching plasma, heated to incandescence by brownnosers and promotional advert campaigns, felt himself shift out of orbit, transferring farther away in fame’s planetary hierarchy till he was mainly Pluto, not even categorized as one thing to concentrate to.

However with the loss of life of John Doe, the door again to relevance and fame opened a crack. And Patrick Whelan was decided to do something to wedge himself again in.

Excepted from THE LEMON, by SE Boyd, revealed by Viking, an imprint of the Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random Home LLC. Copyright © 2022 by The Christmas, LLC.

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