Sunday, 19 June 2011

The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard C Morais

The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard C Morais has recently been published here in the UK by Alma Books and I was excited to receive a review copy from New Books Magazine.
My passions in life are books and food, so foodie-lit is a great favourite of mine.  I'm pleased to say that Richard C Morais' novel is a joy to read, a story to savour and lose yourself in.

The Haji family of Mumbai are a large, boisterous clan who come from a line of restauranteurs - back in the 1930s their grandparents started their business by delivering tiffin boxes (or lunchboxes here in the UK) to the office workers of Mumbai.  Their business grew until they became well-respected members of the culinary scene.
The story revolves around Hassan - the gifted and talented chef of the family, but his extended family, especially his father are all wonderfully portrayed.  Larger than life characters with an authentic voice and some laugh out loud funny antics.  

When Hassan's mother is tragically killed, his father decides that he will pack up his family and move to Europe.  And so begins their hectic journey, first to London and then to a small village in France.  It is in the village of Lumiere that Hassan fulfils his potential.   

When the highly respected Michelin starred chef Madame Mallory first realises that this rag-tag Indian family intend to open a restaurant opposite her own, she is mortified, and the battles between her and Papa are fierce - yet so funny at the same time.   Eventually though, after some painful times, Madame Mallory realises that Hassan has the potential to be a world-class chef and so she sets him on his journey to his own Michelin star.
This really is a wonderful read - it will appeal to fans of Joanne Harris' 'Chocolat' and Anthony Capella's 'The Food of Love'.  With vivid descriptions, not just of the delicious food, but of the characters too and a charming story, the reader is captured and transported into the world of haute-cuisine.
I enjoyed every page of this and am pleased to read that this may soon be made into a film.

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