A New York Times Bestseller
A New York Times Editor’s Choice
Selected for the July 2010 Indie Next List
SoundCommentary.com’s The Best of the Best, 2013
An Audible Pick of 10 Books Listeners Raved about This Year
“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 novel. 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 compulsively readable.
© 2008, 2010 by Richard C. Morais
“A gorgeous novel, vivid and intimate, tracing a journey from kitchen to kitchen, from culture to culture, with a perfect touch.”
“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.”
“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 novel’s charm lies in its improbability: it’s Slumdog Millionaire meets Ratatouille.”
New York Times Book Review
“Serious foodies will swoon. Morais throws himself into the kind of descriptive writing that makes reading a gastronomic event.”
“[A] delicious fairy-tale-like read.”
“An exquisite piece of literary gastroporn. I mean this in the best possible way. You read this first novel at the peril of your gut. I devoured this delectable book in a couple of sittings.”
“A very good book. At times it reminds me of Salman Rushdie and Naguib Mahfouz, of Julia Child and Madhur Jaffrey…Certain passages…sing like a beautiful ragout of spring’s freshest vegetables in a perfect consommé topped with farm-fresh egg.”
“I enjoyed this book very much. It has great charm and is colorfully written, sensual, and evocative.”
Joanne Harris, internationally bestselling author of Chocolat
“A page-turner that captures the extent to which nostalgia and imagination are a part of the craft of cooking, while vividly conjuring the sights and smells of the kitchen. In The Hundred-Foot Journey food isn’t just a theme, it’s a main character.”
Tom Colicchio, chef and owner of Craft restaurants
“This tale of restaurant rivalry and a desperate quest for Michelin stars is just beautifully told. From India to France, Richard Morais takes his caravanserai of eccentric characters and mouthwatering recipes on an unlikely journey from the teeming streets of Mumbai to a quiet village in rural France—there to do culinary battle royal. 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-winning screenwriter of Slumdog Millionaire
“A delicious culinary romp from the beaches of Bombay to the peaks of Paris haute cuisine. Very charming and a delight to savor.”
Padma Lakshmi, host of Bravo’s Top Chef
“Cooking and writing at a high level require great passion—exactly the kind of passion Richard Morais has poured into The Hundred-Foot Journey, the story of an Indian boy who discovers he has an extraordinary gift for cooking.”
Michael Ruhlman, author of Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking
“Floats along a bounty of vivid food imagery, a twisty-turny river of dishes Indian, French, and everything in between. With an obvious insider’s knowledge of the restaurant milieu, journalist Morais delivers a world where Michelin stars determine not only the popular appeal of a restaurant but also the happiness of its executive chef. This novel, of mythic proportions yet told with truly heartfelt realism, is a stunning tribute to the devotion to family and food, in that order. Bound to please anyone who has ever been happily coaxed to eat beyond the point of fullness, overwhelmed by the magnetism of just one more bite.”
Booklist (starred review)
“With his debut novel, longtime Forbes magazine correspondent Morais delves into a rich, imagery-filled culinary world…From vibrantly depicted French markets and restaurant kitchens to the lively and humorously portrayed Haji family, Morais engulfs the reader in Hassan’s wondrous world of discovery. Regardless of one’s relationship with food, this novel will spark the desire to wield a whisk or maybe just a knife and fork.”
“The story has the nostalgic feel of memoir. It spans a huge amount of time and covers great geographic distances, so readers who love sweeping epics and rise-to-fame stories will be happily transfixed.”
BookMark, WPSU radio
“Precise descriptive writing offers much to savor in this bouillabaisse of a first novel.”
“Neil Shah’s masterful, fully voiced interpretation of Richard C. Morais’ colorful coming-of-age tale makes The Hundred-Foot Journey truly magical…The Hundred-Foot Journey is for listeners who love to cook, love to eat, love to be exquisitely catered to, love to travel, and especially anyone who loves the crisp snap of a starched white linen tablecloth just before it is placed on a favorite restaurant table or the sizzling stove fragrances of the truly outstanding chef…Outstanding combination of narrator with text. Indeed a magical journey.”
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Looking forward to the movieJanuary 30, 2014After finishing this I had to go back and double check that it wasn't a memoir – it had such a feel of a personal story. It was beautifully written and full of amazing food and cultural descriptions, and the narrator kept a nice light pace and voiced Hassan and his family very well. Since it doesn't boast a heavy plot, I expected maybe a bit more character development - it seems like some big chunks of time and large events were glossed over quickly – but overall it was a lovely book I enjoyed listening to. A light read full of pretty imagery and delicious sounding food.
Neil Shah is an Audie Award–nominated narrator and voice-over artist who has recorded numerous audiobooks and won an AudioFile Earphones Award. His reading include I Am an Executioner by Rajesh Parameswaran, The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais, and Stringer: A Reporter’s Journey in the Congo by Anjan Sundaram. He is a classically trained actor with an MFA from the Old Globe / University of San Diego program and has appeared on off-Broadway and regional stages, as well as in film and television.
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- Publisher: Blackstone Audio
- Genre: Fiction
- ISBN-13: 9781470823986