By Sandra Kraisirideja
“The Hundred-Foot Journey” is the film adaptation of the beloved novel by Richard C. Morais that stars Dame Helen Mirren as a respected French chef who enters into a rivalry with the proprietors of an Indian restaurant that opens across the street. Beginning with My Life as a Dog in 1985, Hallestrom has quite a track record for taking beloved novels from page to screen. Filled with mouth-watering descriptions of haute French cuisine and exotic Indian dishes, Morais’ novel was ripe for a film adaptation. In “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) is a culinary ingénue with the gastronomic equivalent of perfect pitch. Displaced from their native India, the Kadam family, led by Papa (Om Puri), settles in the village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in the south of France and opens an Indian restaurant, the Maison Mumbai. When the chef proprietress of Le Saule Pleureur, a Michelin starred, classical French restaurant run by Madame Mallory (Mirren), learns of Maison Mumbai, her protests against the new Indian restaurant 100 feet from her own escalate to all out war between the two establishments. Soon Hassan’s passion for French haute cuisine and for Mme. Mallory’s enchanting sous chef, Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), combine with his
mysteriously delicious talent to weave magic between their two cultures and imbue Saint-Antonin with the flavors of life that even Mme. Mallory cannot ignore. At first Mme. Mallory’s culinary rival, she eventually recognizes Hassan’s gift as a chef and takes him under her wing.