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The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • The Kadam family leaves India for France where they open a restaurant directly across the road from Madame Mallory's Michelin-starred eatery.

  • The family of talented cook, Hassan Kadam, has a life filled with both culinary delights and profound loss. Drifting through Europe after fleeing political violence in India that killed the family restaurant business and their mother, the Kadams arrive in France. Once there, a chance auto accident and the kindness of a young woman, Marguerite, in the village of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val inspires Papa Kadam to set up a Indian restaurant there. Unfortunately, this puts the Kadams in direct competition with the snobbish Madame Mallory's acclaimed haute cuisine establishment across the street where Marguerite also works as a sous-chef. The resulting rivalry eventually escalates in personal intensity until it goes too far. In response, there is a bridging of sides initiated by Hassan, Marguerite and Madame Mallory herself, both professional and personal, that encourages an understanding that will change both sides forever..

  • The Kadam family after leaving India due to a fatal tragedy finally settle in a small town in southern France. They set up a traditional family run Indian restaurant just like they had always planned but right opposite a competitive French restaurant. This initial rivalry creates unexpected twists for the better and for the worse in the lives of both the Kadam family and Madame Mallory the owner of the Michelin star restaurant a hundred feet away.

  • Hassan Kadam, the oldest of five siblings, was taught how to cook, but more importantly truly taste and love food, by his mother. Their entire family works together in their open air eatery in Mumbai. In his role, Hassan considers himself a cook and not a chef as he was never professionally trained. Following the tragic death of Hassan's mother, his well-off but frugal Papa decides to pack up the family and move to Europe to open a restaurant, the business to keep to his wife's memory in their love of South Asian cuisine. After an initial business misstep in London, Papa believes it is fate that their van breaks down just outside of the French town of Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val, that they meet a local foodie - a young woman named Marguerite - who introduces them to the abundance of fresh locally sourced produce, seafood and meats, and that there is an abandoned restaurant property on the outskirts of town for sale. Against the wishes of the family, Papa decides to purchase the property for their business, even after learning that the previous owners could not make a go of it because it is a mere one hundred feet from Le Saule Pleureur, a Michelin-starred restaurant where Marguerite works as a sous-chef, she trying to work her way up to chef-de-cuisine. Papa's resolve is strengthened as he believes their style of food is not only different than the French, but better in their bold flavors, something he wants to show the locals. Madame Mallory, Le Saule Pleureur's proprietress, took over its running following the death of her husband. The restaurant is now her entire life, and she has waited close to thirty years for it to receive its second Michelin-star, so far without success. Madame Mallory does not take too kindly to her new neighbors, not only as potential competition, but in the Kadams', most specifically Papa's, brash and forward approach to life, unlike the refined French. An initial action by Madame Mallory to make sure Maison Mumbai, the Kadams' restaurant, doesn't succeed, leads to an all out war between her and Papa. But a potential bridge emerges between the two restaurants with the budding friendship and possible romance between Hassan and Marguerite. Beyond that friendship and romance, Hassan believes, to survive, they have to meld their bold flavors to local ingredients and techniques, he who wants to learn the art of French cooking from Marguerite. A singular action in that war results in what could be a fundamental shift between all the players at Le Saule Pleureur and Maison Mumbai.

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  • Put young Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) in a kitchen, and he's bound to emerge with a dish that will dazzle. When Hassan's family is forced to move from their native India, his Papa (Om Puri) relocates to a peaceful hamlet in Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val in the south of France. Determined to give his new neighbors a little taste of home, Papa decides to open an Indian restaurant in the village, and names it Maison Mumbai. Meanwhile, across the street at the traditional French restaurant Le Saule Pleureu, uptight proprietor Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren) doesn't exactly welcome the competition. When Madame Mallory ignites a bitter feud that quickly escalates, the only hope for a peaceful resolution lies in Hassan's talent for French hat cuisine, and his growing affections for Mme. Mallory's pretty young sous chef Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon). Subsequently impressed by Hassan's undeniable culinary talents, Mme. Mallory agrees to become Hassan's mentor, in the process providing the perfect creative environment where his unique fusion cuisine can thrive..


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • In the opening scene, at a customs office, Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) explains to French Immigration why he and his family want to live in France: his family had owned a restaurant in Mumbai, but on an election night, there was a riot and their restaurant was set on fire, killing his mother who was the chef. He learned everything about cooking from her and has been trying to teach himself as his Papa moves the family about Europe. He fondly remembers buying sea urchins, the seller exclaiming that he gets cooking. Admitting he doesn't have any proof that he knows how to cook, except to offer a homemade samosa and saying that English produce isnt good enough, the Kadam family is allowed in.

    Papa (Om Puri) is driving the family throughout the French countryside, trying out random vegetable gardens, when their old van finally gives out in the hills above Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val, a small village. A young woman passes by, offering to take them to the local mechanic. The family (also brothers Mansur and Mukthar and sisters Mahira and Aisha) push the van into town. Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon), the woman, brings them to her apartment and offers a snack- a huge platter of radishes, butter and salt; home baked bread; large, fresh tomatoes; olives she picked and cured herself and little pastries. Delighted, Papa eagerly looks forward to bargaining with the hotel in town, much to Mansurs dismay.

    In the morning, Papa discovers an abandoned restaurant. As he and Hassan are exploring, Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren) announces they are trespassing. She admits she is not the owner either, but keeping an eye on the property for the owner who is in Paris. Again, Papa wants to bargain with the owner and soon we see the family cleaning up the restaurant to turn it into Maison Mumbai. The family finds out the reason why Madame is so hostile- she owns the restaurant just across the street: Le Saule Pleureur, a one star Michelin restaurant.

    Hassan finds mildewed French cookbooks in the kitchen as they prepare for the opening and strikes up a friendship with Marguerite, who he discovers is the sous chef at Madame's. Madame runs a tight ship, scolding employees for serving limp asparagus, saying food should be passionate. She visits her competition, demanding they turn down their Indian music and studies a menu which she takes with her. On opening day, Papa and Hassan travel to market only to discover Madame has snatched up all the crawfish, mushrooms and everything else in town on their opening night menu. Scrambling to save the day, the family forages the river and forest for the needed ingredients and manages to snag customers with native costumes, Mahira's smile and forceful behavior.

    Madame appeals to the mayor to close Maison Mumbai for various citations, but he appreciates the food too much. Papa turns the tables on Madame and purchases all the ingredients in town for pigeon truffle, one of the restaurant's renowned dishes. Marguerite tells Hassan that Madame doesn't interview job applicants, but asks them to prepare an omelet, knowing from one bite whether or not they have it. Hassan cooks a dish of pigeon with truffle sauce, (the recipe stolen with a bribe from Papa from one of the cooks), which he presents to Madame, and she then dumps in the trash. This is now war (cue the angry chopping).

    Madame tells her head chef, Jean-Pierre that he is a soldier, which he takes too seriously and has friends torch Maison Mumbai. Horrified, she personally scrubs their wall free of graffiti, fires Jean-Pierre and accepts when Hassan asks to make her an omelet, although he has to direct her since he severely burned his hands in the attack. His omelet includes Indian spices, onions, cilantro and spicy peppers. She raves after one bite and humbly admits that chefs must study for years for what he instinctively knows and admits that his pigeon was wonderful too.

    After a brief haggle with Papa over salary, Hassan moves across the street (one hundred feet), leaving behind his disappointed younger sister and hesitant older brother (who now has to cook) to polish off his cooking skills with Madame and Marguerite. At the end of one year, Hassan and Le Saule Pleureur have received the much coveted second Michelin star and Marguerite's controlled anger for she has been working for years to be head chef and also because Hassan will now be courted by many Parisian restaurants. The widowed Madame has clearly warmed to the Kadam family, calling Mahira a beauty, cooing to the younger children and feeding Papa a truffle.

    Another year later and Hassan is burnt out. He is much applauded, but he has taken up drinking (wine is considered strange in Indian culture). One night before Michelin stars are announced, he scolds a sous chef for ruining a sea urchin dish and finds a fellow Indian co-worker enjoying food sent from home. Soon he is taking a train back to Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val, where he tells Marguerite that he has a business proposition for her. Secretly cooking sea urchin for Bastille Day, they consummate their relationship before Madame (who is now Papa's "almost" girlfriend) introduces them as the new partners of her restaurant to her guests and the Kadam family, who didn't even know that Hassan was back in town. When Hassan's phone rings, Papa sees that the call was from Michelin and implores him to call them back, but Hassan insists that he and Marguerite will get a third star next year at Le Saule Pleureur.

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