The New York food world is startled and captivated when tart-tongued, no-holds-barred culinary critic Miranda Wake accepts innovative chef Adam Temple's dare to hold her own for a day in the kitchen of his fledgling Manhattan restaurant. Sparks are sure to fly-and they do, although not quite in the way everyone expects. A quirky cast of unconventional characters (an irrepressible rocker sous-chef and a young gay man are especially memorable) join a pair of prickly meant-for-each-other protagonists in a sexy romance. Verdict Exceptional culinary detail and page-singeing sexual chemistry combine with a fascinating group of characters to produce a sophisticated modern romance that ties into the current foodie craze. This debut-first in a projected ""Recipe for Love"" series-will win over most contemporary romance fans.-Kristin Ramsdell, California State Univ. Lib., East Bay .