Erika Somerfeld (confessionsofaprisoncook on QT) has signed with agent Lane Heymont of The Tobias Literary Agency.
Imagine being sentenced to ten years in prison. How would you survive?
Told with humor and pathos, Confessions of a Prison Cook: A Fusion of Food & Crime is a colorful true-life memoir/cookbook about a former New York banker's 10-year struggle in prison -and newfound hope and purpose- after becoming the inmates' chef.
Nourishing not just fellow cons but his own soul, he survives and even thrives, to cook up stories and recipes with a host of hilarious and hellacious characters that are sugar and spice and everything vice!
It's New York in the 90's. Phil Longo, a former VP of a bank and the kind of likable smart ass we all know and try to love, is the co-owner of a hot downtown billiard club. Motivated by greed for "more," more status, more money- Phil acts as a go-between in a drug deal, and gets set up by the DEA.
He is sent to Otisville Federal prison in upstate New York for a decade. And although he has no prior chef experience- just a strong Italian sense of food, he cons his way into a job as the camp cook –which ends up becoming his newfound passion and redemption.
Sexy, inept nurses and sexist kitchen cops, drunks and monks, Chinese gangsters and one-legged cooks. Food wasn't the sauciest, richest part of his experience. But it does become Phil's lifeline and an olive branch to residents like pet-loving gangster/nemesis Jesus, a self-grooming hit man and a drunk guard who sobriety is measured by the state of her beehive hairdo. Food is his link to loved ones, and when Mom visits and tries to smuggle in Phil's favorite black garlic lasagna down her girdle, madness ensues. Think hungry police dogs like Otisville's snarling, hungry canine-cop, Nancy.
Incarcerated for a decade, Phil learns life is truly stranger than fiction. His former life is gone- his friends, his reputation, but he's gained rich insight into his fellow man and realizes: no one is rotten to the core.
When he's released from Otisville, he makes the transition to a halfway house in Florida - complete with its own crop of misfits. By this time, the world has changed (9/11's happened, everyone's gone veggie, designer coffee's a hot commodity) and Phil struggles but survives this new chapter of his life.
Mafioso pathetics, veggies stuffed down prosthetics.
Why garlic on the inside is gold, how homemade OJ here is sold.
Confessions of a Prison Cook: A Fusion of Food & Crime sprinkles in a history of unbelievable food-related crimes, like Martha Stewart smuggling cafeteria candies out in her dainties, John Gotti's love of 3 Musketeers bars, and corn chowder drowned in angel dust, served to the crew of Titanic. Add on-subject quotes (from Shakespeare to The Sopranos) and dark but fascinating food facts from around the world like stories of the Agro-Mafia, or our true-life killer chocolate tales. Original cheeky recipes like "Killing Two Birds with One Scone," and "SCAMwiches" are inspired by his time in the pokey.
This poignant, dark comedy of how this Banker did time is served hot in under 200 pages.
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This title- a cross of Good Fellas and Ratatouille- fuses two hot topics: Food & Crime!
I so hope it might interest you for representation. I understand your agency focuses on MEMOIRS.
This non-fiction tale is delicious, and speaks to what fills all people up, even ones on the way down. We think it would make an amazing television series as well, after attending the recent Hollywood Pitch Festival in L.A. and receiving fabulous feedback from TV producers about our character-driven story.
We look very forward to your valuable comments and hope we can send you our 50 page version and synopsis to consider.
Erika Somerfeld & Philip Longo