“That skinny Indian teenager has that mysterious something that comes along once a generation. He is one of those rare chefs who is simply born. He is an artist.”
And so begins the rise of Hassan Haji, the unlikely gourmand who recounts his life’s journey in Richard Morais’s charming novel, The Hundred-Foot Journey. Lively and brimming with the colors, flavors, and scents of the kitchen, The Hundred-Foot Journey is a succulent treat about family, nationality, and the mysteries of good taste.
Born above his grandfather’s modest restaurant in Mumbai, Hassan first experienced life through intoxicating whiffs of spicy fish curry, trips to the local markets, and gourmet outings with his mother. But when tragedy pushes the family out of India, they console themselves by eating their way around the world, eventually settling in Lumière, a small village in the French Alps.
The boisterous Haji family takes Lumière by storm. They open an inexpensive Indian restaurant opposite an esteemed French relais—that of the famous chef Madame Mallory—and infuse the sleepy town with the spices of India, transforming the lives of its eccentric villagers and infuriating their celebrated neighbor. Only after Madame Mallory wages culinary war with the immigrant family, does she finally agree to mentor young Hassan, leading him to Paris, the launch of his own restaurant, and a slew of new adventures.
The Hundred-Foot Journey is about how the hundred-foot distance between a new Indian kitchen and a traditional French one can represent the gulf between different cultures and desires. A testament to the inevitability of destiny, this is a fable for the ages—charming, endearing, and compulsively readable.
Praise for THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY:
“Outstanding! A completely engaging human story heavily larded with the lushest, most high-test food porn since Zola. Easily the best novel ever set in the world of cooking –and absolutely thrilling from beginning to end. I wished it went on for another three hundred pages.”
– Anthony Bourdain, author of Kitchen Confidential
“Morais, formerly a senior editor and foreign correspondent at Forbes, has done his research. The novel is seeded with delightful arcana, like a recipe for rat from an old edition of Larousse Gastronimique, which advises using a specimen found in a wine cellar (‘so much more flavorful.’) The novel’s charm lies in its improbability: it’s ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ meets ‘Ratatouille.’”
– The New York Times (Editor’s Pick)
“Hilarious romp through life, love and the workings of a French kitchen.”
– O, Magazine (Best Summer Reads Of 2010)
“This tale of restaurant rivalry and a desperate quest for Michelin Stars is beautifully told. From India to France, Richard Morais takes his eccentric characters and mouth-watering recipes on an unlikely journey from the teeming streets of Mumbai to a quiet village in rural France. I have never experienced that most subtle of senses–smell–captured so well in print. The aroma of fine cooking just floats off the pages. Don’t read this book if you’re hungry. You might eat it.”
– Simon Beaufoy, Oscar-award winning screenwriter, Slumdog Millionaire
“Serious foodies will swoon. Morais throws himself into the kind of descriptive writing that makes reading a gastronomic event.”
–Washington Post Book Review