A Dash of Love (2017) – Sprinkles of Love Served With Warm Hearts

Saturday, February 11, 2017

As we roll closer (and closer) to Valentine’s Day, Hallmark continues its pursuit of enchanting us. The third of their five “Countdown to Valentine’s Day” originals premieres tonight. So let’s have a lot at what it’s all about.

Formal training is, according to Nikki Tuner (Jen Lilley), merely a “tool” to cook. What one really needs is some imagination when they create in the kitchen. That’s Nikki’s philosophy and it’s served her well. Her creations, on paper might not be approved by a culinary institute, but the unique combinations are taste bud approved. This is what inspires her dream of someday opening her own restaurant. For now, she’ll settle for finding a job.

She ends up working as a personal assistant for Holly Hason (Peri Gilpin), a chef who has long been Nikki’s idol. And then she meets Holly’s executive chef, Paul (Brendan Penny). Paul has the skill to be the best of the best, but where his technique is text book, he doesn’t have the same creative capabilities as his new co-worker. Life gets complicated when Nikki discovers something about her boss, and a connection with Paul she didn’t know existed.

The same mantra I have “waxed poetic” (or that is always the goal) about regarding the Hallmark films from this year can be applied to A Dash of Love. Sweet (doubly so, because there’s more than romance) swoony and stylish, this TV production is dripping in charm. As usual, romance film aficionados will recognize Lilley from simliar films (The Spirit of Christmas) and Hallmark devotees are sure to enjoy seeing Penny (‘Tis the Season for Love, Chesapeake Shores) return to leading man status.

Though I never mind when it does (because I’m all for a good dose of romance when the need arises), I liked that this film doesn’t center on Valentine’s Day. Instead I felt like decorators and storytellers used the holiday (plenty of hearts, red and talk of the day), but they don’t rely on it to ensure their story has a voice. (The writer’s also wrote Love on the Sidelines.) It makes this less about a day, and more about the characters. The balance is there.

Lilley’s Nikki is bubbly while being adorably awkward and fun to “hang out” with. She makes her more like a best friend than stranger. Penny’s leading man has a past in addition to making a good foil to Nikki’s flustered, in-the-moment-how-do-I-fix-this-situation persona. The ending is also perfect in every way. It’s about a beginning rather than a conclusion. This not only gives us a happy ending, but also makes its story more realistic.

If you’re a Hallmark fan, or have enjoyed their earlier Valentine’s Day films, don’t miss A Dash of Love. Only be warned. It might make you want to try some unique combinations when its time to put dinner on the table.

Catch the premiere of A Dash of Love TONIGHT on Hallmark Channel.

(This post does contain affiliate links. Read the disclosure page for details.) You can buy A Dash of Love on Amazon Video or purchase it on DVD! Or purchase the follow up novella based on the film via Kindle.

All review text © Rissi JC and first appeared on RissiWrites.com

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