An alluring novel of food, friendship and love from the best-selling author of LOST IN TRANSLATION and A CUP OF LIGHT. THE LAST CHINESE CHEF will forever change the way you look at Chinese cuisine and culinary culture. You may know Chinese food; you may even love it. But tHE LASt CHINESE CHEF will take you into a world of Chinese food you never even knew existed. Here is the hidden universe of one of the world's great cuisines. Its philosophy, its concepts, and its artistic ambitions are all illuminated in a story that's entertaining, emotionally satisfying, and erudite.When widowed American food writer Maggie McElroy is hit by a paternity claim against her husband's estate, she has to go to China immediately. She asks her magazine for time off. they counter with an assignment: to profile rising culinary star Sam Liang.In China Maggie teases apart the knots of her husband's past, finding out more than she expected about him and about herself. With Sam as her guide, she also journeys deep into a food culture rooted in its own principles and traditions. She is transformed - by the cuisine, by Sam's family, a querulous but loving pack of passionate cooks and diners, and most of all by Sam himself. tHE LASt CHINESE CHEF is the exhilarating story of a woman regaining her soul in the most unexpected of places.
A recently widowed American food writer finds solace and love and the most inspiring food she's ever encountered during a visit to China in Mones's sumptuous latest. Still reeling from husband Matt's accidental death a year ago, food writer Maggie McElroy is flummoxed when a paternity claim is filed against Matt's estate from Beijing, where he sometimes traveled for business. Before Maggie embarks on the obligatory trip to investigate, her editor assigns her a profile on Sam Liang, a half-Chinese American chef living in Beijing who is about to enter a prestigious cooking competition. Sam's old-school recipes and history lessons of high Chinese cuisine kick-start Maggie's dulled passion for food and help her let go of her grief, even as she learns of Matt's Beijing bed hopping. Though the narrative can get bogged down in the minutiae of Chinese culinary history (filtered through the experiences of Sam's family), Mones's descriptions of fine cuisine are tantalizing, and her protagonist's quest is bracing and unburdened by melodrama. Early in her visit, Maggie scoffs at the idea that "food can heal the human heart." Mones smartly proves her wrong.