In the Kitchen

In the Kitchen

A Novel

Book - 2009
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Struggling to maintain his culinary integrity in a hotel restaurant, executive chef Gabriel Lightfoot finds his secret ambition to become the hotel's owner compromised by the murder of a porter and pressure from his girlfriend and investors.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2009
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed
Description: 436 p. ; 24 cm
ISBN: 9781416571681
Branch Call Number: Ali


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Mar 15, 2021

Gabriel Lightfoot is an man from a northern England mill town, who has climbed to the position of executive chef at the once-splendid Imperial Hotel. Much of the beginning of the book involves the efforts of Gabe to run a successful kitchen. But his integrity, to say nothing of his sanity, is under constant challenge from the competing demands of a multinational staff, frustrating hotel management, and business partners with whom he is secretly planning a move to a restaurant of his own. Despite the pressures, all his hard work looks set to pay off until a worker is found dead in the kitchen's basement. It is a seemingly "insignificant" death of a foreign worker - but it is enough to disturb the tenuous balance of Gabe's life. Outside of work, Gabriel faces other complications. His father is dying of cancer, his girlfriend wants more from their relationship, and there appears to an illegal business taking place in the hotel. Enter Lena, an attractive young emigrant woman with mysterious ties to the dead man and an horrendous history. Under her spell, Gabe makes a decision, the consequences of which change the course of the life he knows - and the future he thought he wanted. Throughout the book I kept wanting to interrupt Gabe and tell him to think about what he was doing. He makes so many poor choices and manages his priorities so badly, you want to wring his neck. Perhaps, however, this is precisely the goal of the author - to engage the reader to this degree of involvement in the progression of Gabe's life. To have you wonder, will he ever act wisely and find what is truly important for his life? recommend.

Jul 27, 2012

This book is about the insanity of modern life featuring the multinational staff of a London kitchen. Good, but a little uneven.

Jul 24, 2012

Although I had difficulty getting through the third quarter of this story, I did enjoy the book. I spent about one hundred pages in the third quarter wondering where in the world the author was going regarding the decent into insanity, but the last 100 pages wraps up all the previous plot work. The ruined love relationship is even given an optimistic end in the last pages. This is not a story about the restaurant industry. A main element of the story deals with illegal immigrant labor and exploitation. Relationships also get explored as the chef comes to terms with his troubled relationships with his parents and sister. Going crazy and coming out the other side gives the chef perspective to better appreciate people around him, and, despite the limited result, act positively to stop the exploitation of undocumented immigrants.

wendybird Sep 29, 2010

Now that I've discovered her, I've got to read more by Ali. Though I was picking up just a fictional "cheftemonial", but this is so much more : part murder mystery, part family dynamics, part love ' n lust tale. Whatever the components, the author vividly & seemingly authentically sets up chef Gabriel Lightfoot's interior & exterior worlds, and wonderfully.

Mar 01, 2010

Neither the sytle not plot live up to the reputation of its author. Nor does it capture the world of restaurant kitchen's very vividly.

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