- Author Richard C. Morais
This is one of those books about food and restaurants that leaves you hungry and craving the dishes described. Such memorable and vivid sentences are crafted so that you can almost smell the wonderful aromas and taste every single spice.
I really enjoyed the first half of the book, tragic as it was in places. Following the early stirrings of a life as a chef in a young boy with a lot to learn, we track him across the continents as his extended family move around a lot, eventually alighting in France. The bitter fight with the neighbour across the road is also fascinating, but then I found it started to lose its way.
Once Hassan is given the job by Mallory, everything felt very rushed. He whizzed through his student days there, moved to Paris in the blink of an eye and moved up through the restaurant ranks even faster. I would have preferred less pace and more detail, even if it meant sacrificing some of the later achievements for more insight into the mixture of two cultures. The film, I think, handles this better, focusing on the young Indian and the elderly French woman as they have a fantastic meeting of minds and talents.