At the once-splendid Imperial Hotel, chef Gabriel Lightfoot is trying to run a tight kitchen. But his integrity and his sanity are under constant challenge from an exuberantly multinational staff, a gimlet-eyed hotel management, and business partners with whom he is planning a new venture. Despite the pressure, his hard work looks set to pay off.
Until the discovery of a porter's dead body in the kitchen appears to tip the scales. It is a small death, a lonely death - but it is enough to disturb the tenuous balance of Gabe's life.
In The Kitchen is Monica Ali's stunning follow up to Brick Lane. It is both the portrait of a man pushed to the edge, and a wry and telling look into the melting pot which is our contemporary existence. It confirms Monica Ali not only as a great modern storyteller but also an acute observer of the dramas of modern life.