It is the old tale of a strained father and son relationship. The father, a stern, successful self-made man owned the famed Colonial Inn in Harbor Springs, Michigan and his son, earning two business degrees from The University of Michigan and a law degree from Notre Dame, worked in a Chicago Law office cranking out briefs. He was miserable, so he quit.
The story begins with news of the death of the Chef, Dario and moves along to airy scenes of a Northern Michigan resort hotel in full swing in the 1960s where the regulars came for the season expecting nothing less than the best in accommodations, scenery, cuisine, cocktails and parties. A well-ordered team ran the hotel: the gardener, the maintenance man, the housekeepers, the waitresses and the chef, Dario, master of the flaming Duck á l’Orange.
Dario’s death creates a deep sadness for Ray Brown and all the staff at the Colonial Inn and is life-changing for Tim Brown, who now trades in his Navy pin-striped worsted suit for chef whites topped with a toque to become the new Chef. Immersed in the daily routine of the hotel, Tim learns the news of a developer’s offer to buy the hotel, tear it down and build condos. The opportunity to turn the hotel into a lump of cash was tempting for his father and Tim pleads with him not to sell to the developer and schemes to find the cash to buy the hotel himself.
The local scenery in this book provides a delightful romp through the hotel’s manicured lawns and crisp white table-clothed dining room. The struggle of this father-son duo is tense and heart-warming down to the bottom line.