“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 this charming audiobook. 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 café opposite an esteemed French restaurant - 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 a joy to listen to.
Richard C. Morais, author of The Hundred-Foot Journey, is a contributing editor at Barron’s in New York. An American raised in Switzerland, he was stationed in London for seventeen years, where he was Forbes’ European bureau chief.
©2008 2010 by Richard C. Morais (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“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, New York Times bestselling author of Kitchen Confidential
“A gorgeous novel, vivid and intimate, tracing a journey from kitchen to kitchen, from culture to culture, with a perfect touch.”—Susan Orlean, New York Times bestselling author
“Richard C. Morais conjures a richly woven tapestry of exotic sights, smells, and tastes that transports the reader to a world of epicurean delights. This is a charming, deeply felt novel that questions, and ultimately celebrates, the twists and turns of an authentically lived life.”—Elin Hilderbrand, New York Times bestselling author
The writing of this book is beautiful. The style is almost poetic without being tedious. The descriptions of smells and facial expressions and room decor and cooking techniques are so specific yet so well done that it really takes you there. I can picture the table in the front of Haji's restaurant and the smells as he walks by street vendors.
This story is driven by food and cooking. If you are a fan of cooking and/or the cooking channel on tv, you'll love this book. Note that the first review of this book is by Anthony Bourdain, a famous tv "chef."
There is more to the story than just cooking, which is what makes the story very good. The characters are likable and multi-dimensional and well developed. I was very invested in what happened to Haji, and his mentors and his family.
When reading reviews for this book, it's some of the pieces that people rave about that make the story flawed for me. I also had to remind myself that this was not a true story, but that wasn't a positive for me. It felt like a true story during the last quarter of the book because not much happened. It felt like the author had to record facts that weren't actually interesting.
Also, occasionally, the food references went too far for me. There is one action scene where Haji's life is slightly in danger and he stops to describe the smell of the food that the homeless people are cooking while he's running for his life--that seemed odd to me,
I also wish that the author would have put more energy into the development of Haji's friend towards the end of the book. He becomes a big part of the end of the book and of Haji's life and there wasn't enough detail about him for me to care as much as I wanted to.
The narrator was great. He struggled sometimes with the voice and accent of the French lady in comparison to the French men and then leaping back to an East Indian accent, but he did an admirable job at it.
I recommend this book.
Madame Malarie 180* inspirationally motivated life change
Spot on accent and gender shifts in speech
The transforming gift
I had this book in my library before I knew it was going to be a film with Helen Mirren, so when I saw the preview I rushed to listen.
It's a passable book with a good germ of a story. But it never delved into character. It was more of the protagonist reading his datebook/journal with no real depth of feeling.
Listening to the narrator do the French accents, was like listening to Inspector Clouseau. I look forward to the film and Ms. Mirren breathing life into a cliché relationship.
What a richly told story by Richard Morais and elegantly narrated by Neil Shah. Great development of character, location and emotion that leant a bit of reality to the story. So much so that I felt this had to have been based in a true story. I have read some recent auto-biographys that can't hold a candle in comparison to the richly laden authenticity and warmth in the writing here. Thank you! It felt like I was watching a movie! The pictures you painted in my head were sublime. Thank you Richard Morais and Neil Shah!
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