Chop Chop is the inventive debut novel from former chef Simon Wroe. New to the ‘proper’ world of work our narrator, Monocle (affectionately called by his colleagues) is hot out of University and still has high hopes for his new found education. Time soon becomes his worst enemy; he’s is behind on rent, he’s slowly becoming depressed….and then he answers an advert for a low level kitchen job at a formerly illustrious restaurant. If he thought he was depressed before, he can think again!
After he runs through all the usual ‘breaking-in’ rituals that the workplace has he grows an affinity towards his workmates and finds that they’re actually not all that bad. Each has their own little quirk that makes them who they are, their own little ticks that make them well…tick. But when exactly does a quirk become more than that? When do people stop being weird and start being altogether more sinister and twisted? Soon Monocle is part of a mastermind plan to eradicate a washed-out has-been who could very well be the one person they all need out the way.
Its difficult to not say that the climax is brilliant, but it really is just that. The build up to the ending is one that you find makes you want to absorb the pages quicker than you can actually read. However, rather than being all in the ending, Chop Chop is excellent in the way that the whole book feeds off of itself and it grows and you grow with it.
The ride to the climax is enjoyable, hilarious, twisted, often bizarre and darker than I’d first perhaps realised it would be. If you enjoy eating out often…or even if you just enjoy or appreciate food then this book will mean even more to you. Other than this being a stupidly good work of fiction, it also taught me a huge amount about food, terms that I’d never known before and now firmly embedded in my head.
You’ll devour this book as you would a sumptuous meal, whether its Haute cuisine or a greasy spoon fry up, this book takes both, mashes them together in word form and comes out on top.