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The Hundred-Foot Journey

The Hundred-Foot Journey

A Novel

  • reading group guide
  • bestseller
Soon to be a major motion picture starring Helen Mirren and Om Puri, directed by Lasse Hallstrom, and produced by Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Juliet Blake, DreamWorks Studios, and Participant Media.

"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 Richard Morais’s charming novel, The Hundred-Foot Journey. 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 restaurant opposite an esteemed French relais—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.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439165652 | 
  • August 2011
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The Hundred-Foot Journey

Now a major motion picture starring Helen Mirren and Om Puri, produced by Juliet Blake, Oprah Winfrey, and Steven Spielberg. The Hundred-Foot Journey is a culinary fairytale about a young Indian boy who becomes a three-star chef in Paris.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Hundred-Foot Journey includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

INTRODUCTION

Hassan Haji is born in Mumbai and raised among the spices and flavors of his grandmother’s kitchen and his family’s restaurant. But his life is changed forever when a tragedy forces his family to leave their home and the familiar chaos of India in search of a fresh start. Thus begins their impetuous journey across Europe, starting in London and ending in the remote French village of Lumière, where they happen to settle down opposite the haughty Madame Mallory—a renowned French chef with very specific ideas about taste. Young Hassan’s mind is opened by Madame Mallory and his encounter with the world of French cuisine. Yet expanding his palate in Lumière is just the beginning of Hassan’s journey; for in the hundred-foot distance from his family’s home to Madame Mallory’s restaurant, Hassan finds his destiny.

Full of eccentric characters, vivid settings, and delicious meals, The Hundred-Foot Journey recounts the strange and wondrous story of Hassan’s life—from his humble beginnings in the see more

About the Author

Richard C. Morais
Nishad Joshi/ Time Out Mumbai

Richard C. Morais

Richard C. Morais is the editor of Penta, a Barron’s website and quarterly magazine. An American raised in Switzerland, Morais has lived most of his life overseas, returning to the United States in 2003. He is the author of The Hundred-Foot Journey and Buddhaland Brooklyn. He lives in New York City.

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Author Revealed

Richard C. Morais
Q. how did you come to write The Hundred-Foot Journey?

A. I wanted my friend, the late film producer Ismail Merchant, to make a film that would marry his love of film making with his love of cooking. When I couldn't find a novel that fit the bill, I sat down and wrote one.

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