Debbie J, January 7, 2013 (view all comments by Debbie J)
I learned a lot about Chinese food and culture from this book. The story was very interesting. I think this author writes very well. I felt as if I experienced a bit of China by reading this book.
Joan Bregger, June 22, 2008 (view all comments by Joan Bregger)
A third fabulous book about present-day China by Nicole Mones! A widowed American food magazine writer travels to Beijing to interview an outstanding chef, who is competing in a prestigious cooking contest. The writer also needs to learn if her husband has a secret child. Schools of Chinese cookery, historic culinary techniques, and actual dishes are mouth-wateringly described. And the chef's delicate dance with the writer is enhanced by passages from his grandfather's book, "The last Chinese chef." Wonderful!
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Xiaoyan, May 14, 2007 (view all comments by Xiaoyan)
In her third novel on China, Nicole Mones again demonstrates her understanding and appreciation of the Chinese culture. "The Last Chinese Chef" breaks the myth of Chinese cooking for the average American. Unlike the stereotypical carton-boxed, fortune-cookied greasy food that Americans have come to love, Chinese Haute Cuisine is in fact a tradition, a business, an art, a relationship, a family history, a competition, a love story...all on one table, to be cooked, served, and shared by all.
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carolyn espe, March 11, 2007 (view all comments by carolyn espe)
With The Last Chinese Chef, Nicole Mones winds a story of confronting grief, the love of food and the pursuit to live in the present with eloquence. While discovering the incredible history, passion and connectedness within the art of Chinese cuisine, main character Maggie stumbles into a relationship and confronts a closure she fears. Exploring and revealing the inherent beauty of this foreign culture, Mones creates a delicate story of living fully.
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Houghton Mifflin Company -
by Seattle Times,
"It doesn't seem quite fair for a writer to be as skilled at genre hopping as Nicole Mones....The Last Chinese Chef is a love story at many levels: love of tradition, love between family members."
by Charlotte Observer,
"[Mones's] third novel...brims with vividly rendered meals and stories about the cooks who have created them for centuries."
"Mones' achievement appeals not just to devotees of fiction but equally to anyone interested in Chinese cooking."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"Meticulously researched gastronomy will entice foodies, even those whose familiarity with Chinese food is limited to takeout. Warning: Avoid reading while hungry."
This alluring novel of friendship, love, and cuisine brings the best-selling author of Lost in Translation and A Cup of Light to one of the great Chinese subjects: food. As in her previous novels, Moness captivating story also brings into focus a changing China — this time the hidden world of high culinary culture.
When Maggie McElroy, a widowed American food writer, learns of a Chinese paternity claim against her late husbands estate, she has to go immediately to Beijing. She asks her magazine for time off, but her editor counters with an assignment: to profile the rising culinary star Sam Liang.
In China Maggie unties the knots of her husbands past, finding out more than she expected about him and about herself. With Sam as her guide, she is also drawn deep into a world of food rooted in centuries of history and philosophy. To her surprise she begins to be transformed by the cuisine, by Sams family — a querulous but loving pack of 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.
In her satisfying, sensual third novel, Nicole Mones takes readers inside the hidden world of elite cuisine in modern China through the story of an American food writer in Beijing. When recently widowed Maggie McElroy is called to China to settle a claim against her late husbands estate, she is blindsided by the discovery that he may have led a double life. Since work is all that will keep her sane, her magazine editor assigns her to profile Sam, a half-Chinese American who is the last in a line of gifted chefs tracing back to the imperial palace. As she watches Sam gear up for Chinas Olympic culinary competition by planning the banquet of a lifetime, she begins to see past the cuisines artistry to glimpse its coherent expression of Chinese civilization. It is here, amid lessons of tradition, obligation, and human connection that she finds the secret ingredient that may yet heal her heart.
This exhilarating story is the transporting tale of how the sensual, romantic elements of haute Chinese cuisine become the perfect ingredients to lift the troubled soul of a grieving American woman.
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