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With his debut novel, longtime Forbes magazine correspondent Morais delves into a rich, imagery-filled culinary world that begins in Bombay and ends in Paris, tracing the career of Hassan Haji as he becomes a famed Parisian chef. Narrated by Hassan, the story begins with his grandfather starting a lowly restaurant in Bombay on the eve of WWII, which his father later inherits. But when tragedy strikes and Hassan's mother is killed, the Hajis leave India, and, after a brief and discontented sojourn in England, destiny leads them to the quaint French alpine village of Lumière. There, the family settles, bringing Indian cuisine to the unsuspecting town, provoking the ire of Madame Mallory, an unpleasant but extremely talented local chef. 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..
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*Starred Review* Grandson of an entrepreneurial lunchbox deliveryman, Chef Hassan Haji tells of his rise to culinary success in Paris via Bombay, London, and a small town in the French Alps. With a fond, over-the-shoulder regard, he presents the lively family members, friends, and former foes who shaped him as a young chef, leading him to face his destiny and realize that cooking is not only in his heritage but also in his blood and bones. The novel 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. --Annie BostromSee all Editorial Reviews
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