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Chop Chop by Simon Wroe

Chop Chop

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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

Runner-up for the Betty Trask Award 2015.

Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2015.

A fabulous and surprising read about an English lit graduate taking a lowly job in the kitchen of a Camden restaurant but mostly it’s about the local gangster, the Fat Man, and his culinary demands. We are introduced to the colourful and eccentric bunch in the kitchen and its ruthless head chef, Bob. The Fat Man has some strange hold over Bob who drags his team in to produce some pretty dreadful private dinners: songbirds in brandy, a tiger cub, even a chimp! It’s extraordinary. The story flows at great speed with a tense atmosphere, plenty of shocks and great insight into the chef experience. It’s an astonishing read. Highly recommended.

Shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2014.

The Costa Judges said Wroe's book was “a brave, audacious, invigorating and pacy black

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Not for the squeamish or those who shudder at the thought of four-letter words, this is nevertheless a book that will delight most. Monocle, a young graduate up to his ears in debt, takes on a lowly job in a gastro pub. There he falls victim to a psychotic chef, foul-mouthed co-workers and a severe test of his power to go on living. The story is completely raucous but at times deeply touching.
~ Carl Hughes

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Chop Chop by Simon Wroe

Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2015.

This book was nominated for the 2014 Costa First Novel Award. Outrageously funny and completely original, Chop Chop by Simon Wroe is the story of a hapless young chef in the crazed world of the professional kitchen, featuring lust, revenge, neurosis and haute cuisine. A greasy, hilarious tale of loyalty, revenge and dark appetites. A gripping look behind the kitchen wall. (Shortlist). Two months behind on his rent, young graduate Monocle swallows his dreams and takes the only job he can find: the lowest-rung chef in a gastropub in Camden. Here he finds himself surrounded by a group of deranged hoodlums (his co-workers) and at the mercy of an ingenious sadist (the head chef, Bob). What follows is a furiously-paced, ribald, raucous and unexpectedly touching tale of loyalty and revenge, dark appetites and fading dreams, and a young man finding his way in the world as he is plunged into the fat and the frying pan and everything else besides. Perfectly baked [with] a rich, gooey pool of dark comedy hiding beneath the surface. (Independent). Lively, amusing and alarmingly informative. (Daily Mail). Arch comedy ...Dave Eggers channels Anthony Bourdain. (Kirkus). Twisted, surprising and above all genuinely funny. (William Sutcliffe). Raucous and inventive, peopled with technicolour characters and savagely funny. (A D Miller). A complete page-turner. Reminiscent of Kitchen Confidential but with an entirely fresh voice. (Thomasina Miers). A brutally funny look at the world of professional cooking. (Gary Shteyngart). Furiously funny, fast, surreal. (Anya von Bremzen). Simon Wroe is a former chef who writes about food and culture for Prospect and the Economist, and has contributed to a wide range of publications including The Times, Guardian, Telegraph and Evening Standard. In 2014 Chop Chop was nominated for the Costa First Novel Award. Simon Wroe is 30 and lives in London.


'Brace yourself for this lively, amusing and alarmingly informative novel' Daily Mail

'A greasy, hilarious tale of loyalty, revenge and dark appetites' Shortlist

'Confirms all your worst fears about professional kitchens in a debut novel that is dark, pungent, twisted, surprising and above all genuinely funny. If you enjoy eating out, don't read this book' -- William Sutcliffe, author of Are You Experienced?

'Raucous and inventive, peopled with technicolour characters and savagely funny, Chop Chop announces Simon Wroe as both an heir to Martin Amis and an oven-fresh talent unto himself' -- A D Miller, author of Snowdrops

'A complete page-turner. Reminiscent of Kitchen Confidential but with an entirely fresh voice that is a pleasure to read' -- Thomasina Miers, founder of Wahaca

About the Author

Simon Wroe is a freelance journalist and former chef. He writes about food for Prospect magazine, art and culture for The Economist and has contributed articles and features to a wide range of publications including Private Eye, Intelligent Life, The Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent and The Evening Standard. Simon is 30 and lives in London. This is his first novel.

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Book Info

Publication date

5th March 2015


Simon Wroe

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Penguin Books Ltd


336 pages


Literary Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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