Movies about chefs seem to be all the rage at the moment. Bradley Cooper and Jon Favreau are currently prepping two separate films about professional cooks, both called Chef, and now Chocolat director Lasse Hallstrom has been tapped to direct an adaptation of the Richard C. Morais novel The Hundred-Foot Journey for DreamWorks. The story centers on the rivalry between an Indian restaurant that is 100 feet away from a three-Michelin-star restaurant in France, with the eccentric French chef reluctantly forming a bond with the young Indian boy whose family owns the quaint Indian restaurant. Casting has yet to be confirmed, but Deadline reports that Helen Mirren will be playing the French chef Madame Mallory.
Steven Knight (Eastern Promises) wrote the screenplay adaptation and the film boasts Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Juliet Blake as producers. Hallstrom most recently helmed the Nicholas Sparks adaptation Safe Haven, but the Cider House Rules filmmaker certainly knows his way around a touching dramedy. Hit the jump to read a synopsis for the book.
“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. [Amazon]