How does a young boy from Mumbai, India become a world-renown French chef? That is the story of The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais. Hassan Haji was born into a family of restaurateurs. His grandfather started a small roadside café in Mumbai, which became very popular with the Allied servicemen of World War II. By the time Hassan was born, Abbas, his father, had taken over the restaurant and it had become quite successful. While Hassan was still in his teens, tragedy strikes the family and Abbas sells everything and moves the family to Europe.
They live in England for a couple of years before fate steps in and lands them in the small French town of Lumiere. It is here that Abbas decides to put down roots and open an authentic Indian restaurant. That would have been all well and good, but the location he chose was right across the street from the elegant restaurant of the famed Madame Mallory, French gourmet chef extraordinaire! That is when all hell breaks loose.
Reading this book stirred two desires in my heart. The first was to go and visit the places mentioned in this book. Lumiere is a town in the French Jura, which is a mountainous region on the border of Switzerland. Morais paints a picture of lush valleys, stunning vistas, meadows of wildflowers, and clear streams running through a pine forest. Wow, I wish I was there right now!
The second desire is to create amazing food. Morais so beautifully describes the various dishes created by all the chefs in the book that I also want to be able to prepare cuisine that is delicious and unique. I don’t think I want to go as far as the snails and octopus, but to make something besides hamburgers would be pretty cool!
So give the The Hundred-Foot Journey a read. The book is sometimes comical, sometimes dramatic, but ultimately inspiring. Who knows, maybe it will inspire you to visit France and/or become the next great chef. Or it might just make you really hungry.
Check the PPLC Catalog for The One-Hundred Foot Journey.