Chef

Jaspreet Singh

Jaspreet Singh follows his highly-acclaimed short story collection, Seventeen Tomatoes: Tales from Kashmir with an elegiac and hypnotic novel. Chef is a compelling look at the India-Pakistan conflict from atop Siachen Glacier, the coldest battlefield in the world at 20,000 feet. Chef Kirpal, seriously ill, returns to Kashmir after a gap of fourteen years to cook his last meal at the Governor's residence. He embarks on a long train and bus journey from Delhi to Kashmir during which he looks back over his days of apprenticeship and the life of ordinary soldiers on the Siachen Glacier, and occupation of Kashmir by India and Pakistan, prejudice against Muslims, and his relationship with women from both sides of the border. But his reasons for visiting Kashmir one last time extend further than the strong desire to cook a wedding meal for the General's daughter. He would like to excavate a part of his past that has kept him from moving forward.

Esplanade
Fiction 2008

Read an excerpt

Reviews

“This is a subtle, lyrical novel, told in fragments, and infused with a sense of the beauty of the Kashmir landscape, the pain of unrequited love, and the ugliness of the hostilities between India and Pakistan.” – The Independent

“Chef is an accomplished debut novel that portends even greater things from Singh, a writer who definitely doesn't suffer from an inability to find his own voice.” – Montreal Gazette

“This is courageous writing that asks, and faces the impossibility of one-way answers to, questions of loyalty, love, ownership, and death.” – Daphne Marlatt

“Singh's novel really shines in its elegiac tone and passages of precise and sensual description... The Siachen Glacier, the highest battleground on earth, is in Singh's hands a complex metaphor.” – Montreal Review of Books

Jaspreet Singh’s non-fiction has appeared in Granta, Brick: A Literary Journal, and the New York Times. He is the author of two novels, Chef (Véhicule Press, 2008; Bloomsbury, 2010) and Helium (Bloomsbury, 2014); a story collection, Seventeen Tomatoes (Vehicule Press, 2004); and a poetry collection, November (Bayeux Arts, 2017). His work has been published internationally and has been translated into several languages. He lives in Calgary.

Other books by Jaspreet Singh:
Seventeen Tomatoes: Tales from Kashmir
My Mother, My Translator
Singh
No longer available through Vehicule Press