One of my favorite books to read this year was Richard C. Morais’s first novel, The Hundred-Foot Journey. Focusing on Hassan Haji, a Muslim boy born on the edge of a slum in what was still called Bombay, readers explore his his coming-of-age in in both London and rural France.
In a “Slumdog Millionaire” meets “Ratatouille” story, his family’s motorcade conveniently breaks down in front of a mansion for sale, which Papa immediately decides to convert into a Bollywood-esque eatery, with Hassan as its chef. Giving the title to the story, a hundred feet away is a celebrated country inn, run by Mme. Mallory who is embittered by her failure to earn a third Michelin star and declares war on Hassan’s family eatery.
As I’m a fan of other bloggers and online writers, I initially took on the book as Morais was formally a senior editor and foreign correspondent at Forbes, and I was excited to see what his latest venture entailed. I was pleasantly surprised however to see the mix of real life and fantasy in his first novel. One of the main characters is clearly inspired by the chef Bernard Loiseau who committed suicide in 2003 when he was said to be on the verge of losing his third Michelin star, and many of the recipes mentioned throughout the novel, including one on rats, come from an old edition of the Larousse Gastronomique.
The novel is a delicious and mouth-watering read that I had trouble putting down and longed for more upon completing Hassan’s story. That’s why I was thrilled to find out that The Hundred-Foot Journey would be picking up the story again, for a feature film adaptation starring Academy Award winner Helen Mirren.
Judging by the official plot line released by DreamWorks Pictures, the feature film adaptation will follow a similar story line as the novel, and an all-star cast will likely fill the shoes well of the beloved (and hated) characters. Manish Dayal will play Hassan Kadam, with Charlotte Le Bon portraying the enchanting sous chef Marguerite and Helen Mirren as Madame Mallory.
The first picture from the film was released this week, showing one of the movie’s producers, Oprah Winfrey with Helen Mirren in character as Madame Mallory.
Production has officially begun on the film in southwest France and is slated for a August 8, 2014 release in the United States!