The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais

The Hundred-Foot JourneyReader beware: reading this book may cause extreme hunger, salivation and an extreme case of wanderlust.

As a boy in Mumbai, Hassan Haji grew up in his family’s restaurant. Food was his way of life and viscerally connected him to his mother. Because of religious strife, a fire destroys the restaurant and kills his mother. Very distraught, his father takes the children and flees India. His father still wants to be in the restaurant business,  but cannot seem to find a profitable niche. He eats his way across Europe until they end up in Lumiere, a quaint village in the French Alps.

Lumiere does not know what to do with the brash, Indian family. Hassan’s father decides to open a restaurant. Likeable and with a discerning palate, Hassan’s father wins over the locals through his loudmouth joviality. But he makes an enemy in famous, local chef Madame Mallory. She owns the respected restaurant across the street and is beside herself with anger at the tacky restaurant with the gaudy colors, loud music and foreign odors. Madame Mallory does everything she can to make the restaurant fail.

Madame Mallory is more distraught when she discovers that the son of this loudmouth has a wonderful gift. Hassan has a way with food and flavor. Madame Mallory believes this gift is innate. Her jealousy gets the best of her when she confronts the family and accidentally causes Hassan to be severely burned. After a lot of guilt and some time reflecting on her life and actions, Madame Mallory decides to take Hassan on as her pupil. Hassan’s father is adamant that this will not happen, but as we all know, Madame Mallory is relentless when she wants something.

And so begins a beautiful relationship that takes Hassan to the top of French cuisine. This is a delightful read that will warm your heart!

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