The Last Chinese Chef: A Novel and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $13.95
  • Save: $3.81 (27%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
The Last Chinese Chef: A ... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Acceptable | Details
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: Fast Shipping - Safe and Secure Bubble Mailer!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Last Chinese Chef: A Novel Paperback – June 6, 2008


See all 18 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$10.14
$3.88 $0.01
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$10.14 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.


Frequently Bought Together

The Last Chinese Chef: A Novel + The Hundred-Foot Journey
Price for both: $20.15

Buy the selected items together
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey $10.01

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (June 6, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547053738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547053738
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Nicole Mones has mined the endless riches of China once again in The Last Chinese Chef. This time she hits the trifecta: the personal stories of Sam and Maggie, the history and lore of Chinese cuisine, and an inside look at cultural dislocation. Maggie McElroy is a widowed American food writer who is suddenly confronted with a paternity claim against her late husband's estate--by a Chinese family. Her editor offers her another reason to go to Beijing: write an article about a rising young Chinese-American-Jewish chef, Sam Liang. Having sold the home she had with her late husband Matt and reduced her possessions to only the barest necessities, with her life feeling as though it is contracting around her, Maggie embraces the oppportunity to sort out her feelings about Matt's supposed infidelity and do some work at the same time.

She and Sam hit it off right away, even though he is involved in a very important competition for a place on the Chinese national cooking team for the 2008 Olympics. They travel together to the south of China where she meets her husband's possible daughter--with Sam standing by to act as translator--and where Maggie meets much of Sam's family. He has been welcomed back with open arms, even though he occasionally feels that he has one foot in China and one in Ohio. The Beijing uncles and the Hangzhou uncle are a raucous, loving, argumentative bunch of foodies who advise Sam about menus, encourage a romance with Maggie, make him start over again when the dish isn't perfect, and alternately praise and criticize his cooking.

Maggie loves being in the middle of it all and finds herself more and more drawn to Sam. She begins, with Sam's help, to see food as "healing" and understands the guanxi or "connectedness" that takes place around food. At the beginning of each chapter is a paragraph taken from a book entitled The Last Chinese Chef, written by Sam's grandfather and translated by Sam and his father. Mones has written that book, too, which is an explanation of the place of food in Chinese history and family life. The novel is rich with meaning and lore and an examination of loving relationships. Don't even touch this book when you're hungry. The descriptions make the aromas and textures float right off the page. --Valerie Ryan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

A recently widowed American food writer finds solace and love—and the most inspiring food she's ever encountered—during a visit to China in Mones's sumptuous latest. Still reeling from husband Matt's accidental death a year ago, food writer Maggie McElroy is flummoxed when a paternity claim is filed against Matt's estate from Beijing, where he sometimes traveled for business. Before Maggie embarks on the obligatory trip to investigate, her editor assigns her a profile on Sam Liang, a half-Chinese American chef living in Beijing who is about to enter a prestigious cooking competition. Sam's old-school recipes and history lessons of high Chinese cuisine kick-start Maggie's dulled passion for food and help her let go of her grief, even as she learns of Matt's Beijing bed hopping. Though the narrative can get bogged down in the minutiae of Chinese culinary history (filtered through the experiences of Sam's family), Mones's descriptions of fine cuisine are tantalizing, and her protagonist's quest is bracing and unburdened by melodrama. Early in her visit, Maggie scoffs at the idea that "food can heal the human heart." Mones smartly proves her wrong. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Watch the NIGHT IN SHANGHAI trailer at www.nicolemones.com

A newly launched textile business took Nicole Mones to China for the first time in 1977, after the end of the Cultural Revolution. As an individual she traded textiles with China for eighteen years before she turned to writing about that country. Her novels The Last Chinese Chef, Lost in Translation and A Cup of Light are in print in twenty languages and have received multiple juried prizes, including the Kafka Prize (year's best work of fiction by any American woman) and Kiriyama Prize (finalist; for the work of fiction which best enhances understanding of any Pacific Rim Culture).

From 1999-2008 Mones wrote about Chinese cuisine for Gourmet magazine. Her nonfiction writing on China has also appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. She is a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

Customer Reviews

This was a very well written book.
Amazon Customer
With the support of her boss, Maggie travelled to China to investigate the claim as well as to write about a new restaurant opened by a Chinese-American chef.
Dizziey
This was a beautifully written book, not only full of interesting information about the history and culture of Chinese food but also a love story.
Jacklyn Ng

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

139 of 146 people found the following review helpful By P. Wung VINE VOICE on May 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
There are certain times where I feel a certain condescension when I read foreigners trying to read meanings and poetry into what I feel is my domain as a person of Chinese ancestry. This isn't one of those times. In fact I feel humbled and delighted by the lessons that Nicole Mones was able to impart upon me.

It is rare that I get up from a book about China so totally enthralled and educated from a tome written by a yang ren, a foreigner. This book is the second book that has made me feel this way in the last few years. The first was Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China's Past and Present by Peter Hessler, it was a non-fictional observation about China and the impact that globalization has had on Chinese society. This book is a work of fiction, by virtue of that fact, it was able to draw me further into all that it had to convey: on being Chinese, on the complicated intertwining of Chinese food culture and general culture, on the meaning of guanxi, on the wonders of Chinese cuisine.

I had always felt that due to the unsavory nature of Chinese-American food as it is, that the true nature of Chinese cuisine has never been fully unleashed on the American palate. I have stewed on the fact that the French and Italian cuisines rank so much higher on the sophistication scale of the American gastronome versus the lowly Chinese cuisine. I felt it but I was unable to express it adequately. Nicole Mones has done this and more with this story.
Read more ›
7 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By K. M. VINE VOICE on May 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Nicole Mones delivers a languid, sumptuous story about an American widow, Maggie McElroy, who journeys to China to find out whether a child born there to another woman was fathered by her late husband. She also has an assignment to write an article on a Chinese/Jewish-American chef, Sam Liang, who is descended from a line of venerable masters of cuisine and to whom Maggie gradually,sweetly grows close.

The reader is immersed in the lives of those Maggie meets, in the essences of Chinese culture and familial bonds, and in the meaning of food and the culinary arts there. Often whilst reading, one can almost breathe in tempting aromas of dishes being prepared in bustling Chinese kitchens. But although succulent meals can be vicariously savored regularly in THE LAST CHINESE CHEF, and food is arguably at the heart of the novel, Mones doesn't scrimp on plot or on presenting believable and very different human characters, all of whom share one bounty: every person is basically decent and kind (not a ready characteristic of much current literature). No character leaves a dastardly or incorrigible impression when all is said and done. Indeed, the reader is left with a halcyon -- though perhaps an overly optimistic -- feeling that everything works for good, even if fate isn't immediately favorable.

Four and a half stars for a luscious feast of a book that radiates a love for China, its people, and its delectable cooking traditions.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Chef Panda on May 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book combines everything worthy in this world, good food, tender love and the warmth of family and place that touch your heart. Anyone who's "in love" with China would know the crazy feeling that enfolds you and everything becomes surreal and every sense is heightened.

This book captures that feeling and more...the characters are so real and believable that the moment the characters finally come together, it's something you've been rooting for all along. You want him to win, you want her to heal her heart...you want them together. When she thinks of staying in China forever, you tell her, yes, go on!!!

You read the culinary history excepts of Liang Wei with just as much intensity and you feel yourself drawn into a world that you wish you knew or as Sam feels, needs to be connected to...to be whole. The conversations he has with his uncles are some of the liveliest parts of the book....family ties you wish you had following you around the kitchen.

You don't need to love Chinese food or be a culinary history buff, this book is that good. But I guarantee you'll become one afterwards. You'll want another book to continue because the stories are so rich and there's still so much more we want to experience and *taste*!!! Did I mention all the luscious food, you'll never look at wonton soup the same way again...
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By WeaselMama on December 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
I enjoy reading about food and cooking, and I also very much enjoy reading about other cultures. Therefore, I was relishing the premise of this novel, but I was a little let down. The sections that focused on the food and culture of China were very interesting, although I don't know how truthful they are. The main plot of the story, however, was quite predictable and a bit melodramatic at times. This is a good "beach read" type of book, but pretty fluffy and predictable overall.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Donna M. Dubose on May 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This story provides a wonderful peek into "guanxi" -- the Chinese concept of relationships. And food is at the heart of Chinese relationships. For example, unlike in America where food is individually plated, all meals are shared in China. Food there is a presentation of symbols, suggestions and references, connecting people not only to one another but to their culture, art, and history (p. 164).

The love story that develops along this culinary back drop is tender and believable. The book made me look at basic every day interactions with friends and family as an opportunity for gentler, more sensitive exchanges.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?