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.