by Erin K. | | 4 Comments | Tags:

Welcome to Week 3 of our discussion of The Hundred-Foot Journey, the Online Book Club book for June.

How did you enjoy this section? The vibe of the chapters in France was much different than the vibe of the India and England, wasn’t it?

Mentioned several times in these chapters is the Michelin Star, a prize that denotes quality, mastery of technique, personality, and consistency of food. I had heard about the Michelin star before, probably from some Food Network show, but I didn’t really understand the intricacies or importance of the award before reading this book. I found this article from TripSavvy helpful in understanding the Michelin Star system better. The article gives a quick overview of how each restaurant is reviewed, and a little explanation about what each star means.

Curious about what a Michelin 3-star restaurant serves? Check out the websites for the 3-star restaurants in Chicago, Grace and Alinea. They look really interesting, but I think I would be too intimidated to visit either one.

In the book, Madame Mallory doesn’t start off as a very likeable character, does she? From the first moment we meet her, we see that she has a deep sadness and fears that she will never get her third Michelin star. I think seeing Hassan’s family for the first time when she is already at such a low point is what really colors her impression of them. It’s not too surprising that Madame Mallory doesn’t love Hassan’s restaurant—it is the complete opposite of hers, after all—but I thought it was really low that she wanted to sabotage the restaurant just because it was different.

When Madame Mallory first tasted Hassan’s food, she cried because she could taste how much talent he had. Were you surprised by that reaction? Do you think it was extreme?

If you were Hassan, would you have wanted to go work for Madame Mallory after the way she treated your family? I thought it was surprising that Hassan left to be her apprentice, but I was glad that he got a chance to train with a master chef. It seemed like he learned so much while working with her.

So, what did you think of this section? Did you enjoy getting to know Madame Mallory and her staff? Did you enjoy learning about French cuisine? Who is your favorite character so far?

Have any of you ever eaten in a Michelin-starred restaurant that has been awarded Michelin stars? If so, please tell me about your experience. I am really curious!

I hope you’ll join us next week as we finish up our discussion of the book.



4 Responses to “The Hundred-Foot Journey: Week 3”

  1. Carrol

    I enjoyed this section so much. You are right. I was able to engage in a totally different way. I could really get a sense of the characters this time. I felt their emotional up and downs. I gasped out loud when Hassan’s tunic caught fire. I applauded when Monsieur Leblanc forced Madame out of the car. There were just so many good things!

    I have to admit my favorite character is Madame Mallory. I couldn’t believe how awful she was at the beginning, but I loved the way she changed. I was surprised when she got so emotional after tasting the food, but she certainly thought about the quality of food in a very different way.

    I was not surprised when Hassan decided to train with Madame. It was clear he understood her talents and recognized he could learn so much and really go far in the culinary world.

    Thanks for the links about the Michelin stars. I don’t think I have ever eaten at a star restaurant. It sure would be an interesting experience!

    • Erin K.

      Carrol, I’m so glad you enjoyed this section. I totally agree that there were so many good parts in this section!

      It was good to see how Madame Mallory changed. It was nice that she was able to reach out to Hassan, even though she struggled to interact with his dad.

      I’m sure it would be interesting to go to a Michelin story restaurant, but I don’t think I would be brave enough to do it! I am easily intimidated.

      I hope you enjoy the last section!

  2. Jane Engle

    This week’s reading left me with the feeling that the author wanted to emphasize the prejudices that Hassan had encountered and would continue to experience. Madame Mallory particularly made this clear when she sabotaged his restaurant. Hassan was also made painfully aware of it when he heard what one of Margaret’s male classmates said and she never challenged it but joined in the laughter.

    While I was aware of the Michelin Star system, the Chicago restaurants’ menus once again made me remember why I would have no desire to go to one. I cannot imagine paying their prices. However, even if the food was free, it would probably not be to my liking or cause me to have an allergic reaction, particularly the one that includes flowers.

    Despite their differences, it was encouraging when Mrs. Mallory and Hassan’s father quit antagonizing each other. With both being such strong-willed characters, it is nice to know that they can finally get along. I enjoy both of them and the way they are now willing to show their softer sides.

    • Erin K.

      I totally agree, Jane, that the author wanted to emphasize prejudices that Hassan experienced.

      I also agree with your assessment of Michelin star restaurants. I can’t imagine paying the prices, and I don’t know if I would like the “fancy” foods.

      Thanks for commenting along again this week! I always appreciate your insights!

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