Born in the tropics. Currently residing in Melbourne. Lover of food, travel, hip hop and everything that sparkles. Visit my blog at www.coconutrush.wordpress.com
Published August 18th 2014
The Hundred Foot Journey
The film opens with a colourful and busy scene of a Mumbai market where we meet Hassan Kadam as a boy and his mum buying sea urchins. The seller instantly recognizes Hassan's love of cooking and the boy grows into a naturally talented cook. On an election night, the restaurant that the Kadams own is set on fire, killing the mother who was the chef. Papa (Om Puri) moves the family around Europe and they wind up in the picturesque town of Saint-Antonin- Noble-Val in the south of France. Papa stumbles upon an abandoned restaurant and decides to buy it, much to his other son's disagreement. Disregarding the fact that Le Saule Pleureur, a one star Michelin restaurant lies 100 feet across the street, Papa opens the colourful and vibrant Maison Mumbai.
This is when proud restaurateur Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren) enters a fierce competition with the Kadams. She complains about the smell of the curry, the plastic placemats and the noise pollution caused by the traditional music next door. She even convinces the market vendors to sell their produce only to her.
In the meantime, Marguerite, sous chef at Le Saule Pleureur and Hassan become friends. The clash between Madame Mallory and Papa lead to official complaints to the mayor but when the xenophobic head chef of Le Saule Pleureur takes things too far, Madame Mallory's behaviour changes and she accepts to cook an omelet with Hassan. She takes Hassan under her wings and obtains the much coveted second Michelin star one year later on Bastille Day. Margeurite's friendly behaviour towards Hassan turns into bitterness and jealousy as she realises that he is her rival.
Just as Madame Mallory promised to Papa, Hassan's talent takes him far. Another year later, he is the chef of a fancy restaurant in Paris which serves molecular gastronomy and whose motto is innovation. Hassan is now a highly praised chef and features in prominent magazines but he is not truly happy. He drinks heavily and shed tears while sharing an Indian meal with a co-worker. It seems that he longs for the pleasures of simple food, the slow pace of the village and to be with Margeurite. Soon after, Hassan goes back to the charming village where he started with a business proposition for Marguerite. On Bastille Day, when he receives a call from Michelin, he ignores the call and announces that he and Margeurite will obtain a third star for Le Saule Pleureur next year.
The Hundred Foot Journey, directed by Lasse Hallstrom and produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, explores cultural clashes, ethnocentrism, the ruthless world of haute cuisine and the pressures and obsession associated with Michelin stars. The two-hour comedy was heartwarming and enjoyable to watch although very much predictable from the start.
Nevertheless, foodie filmgoers will surely enjoy the sight of mouth-watering dishes that leaves you hungry.
The Hundred Foot Journey is now showing in cinemas.