Najika is an orphan, but she has been raised with great affection at an orphanage. She loves to cook, not so much because she enjoys eating, but because she enjoys providing food to friends as an expression of her affection for them. She's incredibly talented and has very discerning taste that enables her to determine the ingredients in just about anything she eats.
Najika's love of food and cooking stems from an incident that happened years earlier, shortly after her parents' death, that involved food, a kind little boy, and a silver spoon with a particular crest on it. When she receives a scholarship to the Seika Academy - of the mysterious crest - Najika is over the moon. But when she gets there, nothing is as she expects, and she feels she'll never fit in with all the impossibly talented - and occasionally spiteful - students there.
While the storyline - so far - seems a bit predictable, and there are elements that are common in many other manga storylines (brothers with irreconcilable differences, for example, that the heroine is determined to bring together), Najika is a feisty, likable heroine. It will be fun to watch her further adventures unfold in future volumes of this series.
Kitchen Princess, Vol 1 by Natsumi Ando and Miyuki Kobayashi; translated by Satsuki Yamashita (Ballantine Books, 2007)