I took The Hundred Foot Journey at 12.20pm, when my stomach was growling and lunch was scheduled two hours away. Would the movie satisfy my hunger, as prescribed by the Chinese idiom 画食充饥 (using a drawing of food to curb hunger), or increase my hunger pang?
There are some shows I watched on TV that literally made my mouth water. While watching Korean Drama Pasta, I had such a strong craving for pasta that I looked for pasta whenever I ate out. Thankfully that waned with the last episode.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, I didn’t leave the movie theatre with a craving for curry or French food yesterday. Despite the story line about a talented Indian cook who rose to culinary stardom in France, food was secondary.
Hassan has a passion for cooking and learned cooking from his mother, who ran a restaurant with his father in India. The restaurant was burnt down one night, killing his mother. Dejected, his father (Pa) brought the young family, consisting of Hassan and his siblings to UK, but Pa could not settle down in UK and moved his family again to Europe, hoping to find a home. While driving through a small French village, the brake on their van failed. A young woman, Marguerite, rescued them.
Marguerite works as a sou-chef in a one-star Michelin restaurant owned by Madame Mallory. Opposite the restaurant stands a dilapidated restaurant, abandoned and put for sale because the owner could not compete with the Michelin star restaurant. But Pa insists that he wants to start a restaurant right there and thus to the chagrin of Madame Mallory, an Indian restaurant is born opposite her restaurant, complete with gaudy decor and loud Bollywood music.
Love and War start. Love between Hassan and Marguerite, and war between Pa and Madame Mallory. It seems impossible. How does an Indian restaurant compete with a Michelin star restaurant? Regardless of this, Madame Mallory unnecessarily sabotages the opening of the Indian Restaurant by buying all the ingredients in the market and Pa retaliates by buying all the pigeons when he hears that a minister who only orders pigeon is coming to the restaurant. Hassan prepares the pigeon and presented it to Madame Mallory. She tastes it and then discards the whole dish.
But when her own chef starts a fire at the Indian restaurant, she is filled with remorse and thus discovers the talent of Hassan. She decides to train Hassan and Hassan goes on to become a celebrity chef.
I like this kind of feel good movie with perfect ending, although I wonder how the Indian restaurant can survive without Hassan?
There is no lovingly slow shot of delicious food, nor many scenes of ingredients being prepared or sauteed. So, I could only curb my hunger by finishing the pop corn and patiently await my lunch at the end of the movie.