The Last Chinese Chef A Novel by Nicole Mones

A story of food, healing, and love...

This alluring novel of friendship, love, and cuisine brings the bestselling author of Lost in Translation and A Cup of Light to one of the great Chinese subjects: food. And the hidden world of Chinese high culinary culture.

When Maggie McElroy, a widowed American food writer, learns of a Chinese paternity claim against her late husband's 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 husband's 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 Sam's 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(

I usually stock up on books whenever I travel since the place I lived in initially had very limited choices when it comes to books.  I usually go to the nearest bookstore where my friends lived.  On that particular holiday I was in the mood to read something out of the box which for me could be anything from an author I've never read before to different genres than what  I usually go for.  And there it was, this book tucked in the lower shelf with its pretty cover and the intriguing title, " The Last Chinese Chef".  The author was Nicole Mones whom I have never heard before.  It was paper bound but the way it was packaged was like your usual hard bound book.  The summary was printed on the inner part of the front cover.  The story was about an American food critic recently widowed who travels to China to sort out her late husbands personal affairs.  It  was basically about self discovery, China, food (oh glorious food),  friendship and of course love.  The Last Chinese Chef is not just a title by the way but also a character in the book that helps our protagonist through her journey.  I don't want to elaborate too much on the story because I might ruin it for anyone who might end up reading this wonderful gem. This book will remain in my favorite list for a long time and I highly recommend it.
And this was how ignorant I was regarding the author Nicole Mones, it turns out this is her third novel and both her previous books were in The New York Times Notable Book list.  Ms. Mones was a delightful author to read her words seemed to jump off the pages and transport you to the places she writes about ... and yes I've read the first two novels as well after finishing this one.  She did not disappoint. 

Her other novels are "Lost in Translation" (no not the movie) and "A Cup of Light" which are also set in China.

Title: The Last Chinese Chef
Author: Nicole Mones
Genre: Contemporary Adult Fiction, Romance
Published: 2007
Publisher: Harper Collins Australia (Paperback Ed.)
Rating: ♨♨♨♨♨ ( I loved this book, it's one woman's journey into self discovery as well as a veritable food guide into Chinese Cuisine and its associated culture.  The author's writing simply transforms you right off the pages and into China itself.  Excellent reading)