The Last Chinese Chef

The recent release of featured film No Reservations reminds me of the equally engaging The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones.

Mones, author of Lost in Translation (1998) gives us a “page-turner both exciting and wise, one to nourish the head, the stomach, and the soul” ~David Henry Hwang.

In this The Pilot’s Wife meets the The Iron Chef, Maggie McElroy, a recently widowed L.A.-based food writer must fly to Beijing to sort out a paternity claim filed against her husband’s estate. It looks like international lawyer Matt has kept some devastating secrets. To finance her trip, she takes on an assignment to profile a new shining star in the Beijing culinary scene – an Eurasian named Sam who comes from a long line of illustrious imperial chefs and is picked as a contender in an upcoming culinary Olympic trial.

Mones begins each chapter with some fascinating, well-researched and mouth-watering tidbits on the history of Chinese cuisine and gastronomy that would entice foodies but as Sam’s audition banquet approaches and Maggie’s efforts for a DNA match become problematic, readers will be increasingly drawn to the undeniable bond between them. Early in her visit, Maggie scoffs at the idea that "food can heal the human heart", Mones smartly proves her wrong. Delicious!