Cooking with Stella (2009)
- Summaries (3)
Stella Elizabeth Matthews has been a cook in the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi for 30 years. She is brilliant as a cook, and brilliant at creatively padding her salary - with a few pilfered items, some minor overcharging, and a special phone-order duty free business. A newly posted Canadian diplomatic couple Michael and Maya arrive with their baby and, after an initial jolt when she learns that Michael will be staying home as "diplomatic housewife" while Maya goes off to work, everything goes swimmingly for Stella. Michael was a chef in Ottawa and he is longing to learn authentic Indian cooking. Stella agrees to be his "cooking guru". But Stella's cozy domestic set-up implodes when Tannu, an honest nanny, joins the household, and threatens to expose Stella's deceptions. Eventually Stella wins Tannu's full cooperation (and then some!). This unlikely partnership embarks on a much grander, riskier scam, which seems to bring disaster. An unexpected kind of justice is found, but not until the guru-student relationship between Stella and Michael has been sorely tested. Michael has learned many important lessons from his teacher ...including glorious traditional South Indian cooking. And Stella? Well.... let's just say dreams sometimes come true in unexpected ways.
As head housekeeper at a diplomatic residence in New Delhi, Stella serves up delectable dishes to a succession of Ottawa civil servants. But while she sets a divine table, some of her other activities are less above board. Through finely orchestrated duplicity, she skims inflated bills to pad her modest salary and raids her employers' pantry for her own "duty free" business. Each night, the devout Christian impishly prays to the Virgin Mary to bless her crooked schemes. The arrival of Maya and Michael initially disrupts Stella's routine. To her surprise, the wife is the diplomat while the husband stays home to look after their baby daughter. Even more shocking, he has designs on her kitchen! When Michael, a trained chef, discovers Stella's culinary talents, he asks her to be his guru and teach him the secrets of authentic Indian cooking. She warily agrees to this breach in master-servant protocol, and as the two begin whipping up mouthwatering curries and dosas together, her trepidation eventually turns to pleasure. Meanwhile, the beautiful and virtuous Tannu joins the household to care for the baby. Can Stella make her an ally in domestic subterfuge, or will the honest young nanny topple the kitchen kingpin? Determined to protect her turf, Stella plots her sliest and most ambitious ruse yet.
Inside the Canadian diplomatic compound in New Delhi, a mischievous cook affects the lives of her employers and fellow staff.
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