Richard C. Morais
Much as I have advised when reading the Julia Child biography My Life in France, don't read The Hundred-Foot Journey if you are hungry. The book is delicious.
Beginning in barely, middle class India at a family run restaurant, The Hundred Foot Journey actually covers many miles before settling in France. The bulk of the story is a set up for a showdown between classic French cuisine and Indian cooking. The loud and boisterous Haji clan moves to a small mountain town in France. They set up roots and a restaurant across from a renown French inn and restaurant. The Michelin-starred restaurant is run by the fierce Madame Mallory.
Back across the street, young Hassan Haji is manning the kitchen for the Indian family eatery. Madame Mallory tries both legally and non-neighborly ways to subvert the Hassan business. However, when she dines at the Hassan restaurant she is devastated to discover that Haji can not merely cook -- he is an artist. Her respect for talent and discipline above all else changes all their lives.
Manish Dayal as Haji Hassan and Helen Mirren as Madame Mallory is the new film.
The newly opened film spends most of it's time in France. Characters are developed and switched, which works. The film is very satisfying--with wonderful performances by Helen Mirren and Om Puri as Madame Mallory and Papa Haji. The book reads like non-fiction, and the film seems like fiction. Both of which make for time well spent.
Richard C. Morais is the editor of Barron’s Penta, a quarterly magazine and website offering insights and advice to wealthy families. Prior to Barron’s, Mr. Morais worked for Forbes magazine for 25 years.
My Life in France