Amanda Shelton (Sarah Michelle Gellar) inherits her late mother's restaurant, but lacks her mother's ability to cook. The restaurant is failing when Amanda meets a mysterious and possibly magical man at the local market. He introduces himself as Gene O'Reilly and claims to be an old friend of her mother's. He sells her crabs, one of which escapes cooking to become her personal mascot. Amanda meets her love interest at the market, Tom Bartlett (Sean Patrick Flanery), a department store manager at Henri Bendel on Fifth Avenue, who is opening an ambitious new restaurant inside his store. It is never explicitly explained why, but this eventful day transforms Amanda into a miraculous food magician; people who now eat her impressive new dishes start feeling exactly what she was feeling when she was making the dish. These are inspired by her emotions and created with the help of her magic crab.