Review: Chop Chop by Simon Wroe

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Fresh out of university with big dreams, our narrator is determined to escape his past and lead the literary life in London. But soon he is two months behind on rent and forced to take a menial job in the kitchen of The Swan, a gastro-pub with haute cuisine aspirations.

Mixed feelings about this book. If you have ever worked in a restaurant you will be able to identify with the harshness presented to some degree along with the motley crew. The bones of the kitchen atmosphere is more or less plausible however, from this point on it gets wonky.

I had a difficult time with the characters. I had zero interest in their well-being, couldn’t stand any of them. A few were a tad bit more interesting or irritating, ultimately a case of lesser of two evils. I also found humor at a loss, my patience was thin as I waited for any sort of comedic relief, completely missing.

The endless vulgarity grated on my nerves. Lots of cooking terminology used, a glossary included helps the total laymen. If you’ve watched enough Food Channel or worked in a kitchen you will be able to comprehend. The writing is promising, I’d like to read more from Wroe only next time temper the obscenities and deliver warm interesting characters.

Food industry employees or former employees might find this entertaining. The undesirable unempathetic characters make it a challenging read – perhaps this was Wroe’s goal, if so, he succeeded.

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•Hardcover, 288 pages
•Published April 17th 2014 by Penguin Press (first published April 3rd 2014)
•ISBN13: 9781594205798

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