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Chop Chop

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  763 ratings  ·  170 reviews
An outrageously funny and original debut set in the fast-paced and treacherous world of a restaurant kitchen

Fresh out of the 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 for his depressing Camden Town bed-sit and forced to take a job doing grunt work in the kitchen
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 17th 2014 by Penguin Press (first published April 3rd 2014)
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Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.37  · 
Rating details
 ·  763 ratings  ·  170 reviews

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Mar 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, dark-humour
I worked as a waitress for a very long time. For years. For way, way too long. When I have anxiety dreams, I'm not naked at school on exam day- I'm back in the smoking section, with the wrong uniform . I don't know the specials, I can't get the Micros to work, and my section is slammed.

Chop Chop is set in the world of food service, and while it's chefs that are the heart of this story, the culture is the same. The strange, insular culture, the heat and rush and swearing and camaraderie. Of cour
Noah Nichols
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: physically-owned
Review to come after my Killers of the Flower Moon write-up is done (it's pretty long).
Kristin Strong
Jun 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
It's a dark comedy, but it's a family story. It's about a restaurant, but it's also about finding one's place in the world. It's about that most concrete of human needs -- food -- but there are interludes almost fanciful in their detail. It takes place at the beginning of a young man's adult life, but it's really about our pasts and how we can't ever truly leave them behind.

Simon Wroe draws upon his experience working in kitchens to tell the story of Monocle, a recent university graduate knockin
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read 'Chop Chop' having found it in the library and been intrigued by the cover. The cover suggested to me a knockabout comedy set in the macho world of the kitchen.

'Chop Chop' is indeed a funny book but there is also a far sadder, tragic and nuanced backstory concerning the protagonist/narrator, and this gave the book a dramatic depth.

I really enjoyed 'Chop Chop': engrossing, informative, cleverly written and narrated, unusual, creepy, sad and ultimately quite uplifting.

In summary, shockin
Jul 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
MUST READ !!!!!!This book was hilarious, it reminded me of a kitchen I worked. But BoB was not a chef where I worked he was the manager. Vulgar language cunt calling, that language that is know in the kitchen. This is a must read for anybody that has worked in a kitchen that ran like shit and the people you worked with weren't much better. The characters are the best part of the story, fuck BOB the boss, asshole burning staff with hot spoons, and harassment that nobody should take. chop chop all ...more
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OMG! This was a spectacular read centering around the life of a chef. The references to food and cooking had me reaching for my dictionary, consequently I learnt so much about food. On a deeper level the exploration of family relationships and associated emotional landmines is truly insightful. Running all the way through is delicious black humour with many gruesome scenes that had me laughing and then shocked to the core. Writing at its very best.
Ian Mond
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
What’s It About?

Monocle (not his real name) is an out of work wannabe writer slumming it in London. Unable to afford rent, food or a decent novel, he decides to take-on menial work at a gastro-pub called The Swan. It’s a decision that turns out to be both the best and worst of his life.

Should I read it?

Absolutely yes! What’s interesting is that while the book is chock-full of swearing and some outright disgusting moments involving food, Wroe perfectly captures both the nail-biting tension and th
Oct 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
There's a delicious, sly delivery of literary allusions and foreshadowing in this coming of age story set in a London restaurant. To escape family dysfunction, a recent university graduate moves to Camden Town and takes a job as a commis, the low man in a kitchen. Crude, colorful characters brighten this darkly comic, grotesque tale, written with the flair of a nineteenth century novel.
Schuyler Wallace
Feb 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Take a deep breath, damp down your sensitivities, and get ready for Simon Wroe to take you on a wild ride. His novel, CHOP CHOP, rolls through the manic world of a restaurant kitchen where the characters are bizarre, the storyline is dark, and the antics are either comical or distressing, depending on your point of view.

The narrator is a young fellow just out of college, intent on a career of writing, but who has to take a menial job in the kitchen of a faded restaurant that’s had better days. T
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mega massive love for this one! This new novel, about to be published next month (cheers for the free giveaway copy Goodreads!) combines two of my favourite things in the wide world: fiction and food. Three if you want to add black humour into the mix.
After reading 'Kill Your Friends' and 'Kill Your Boss' this year, I was expecting 'Chop Chop' to be much the same but set in a restaurant. Like the two previously mentioned novels, 'Chop Chop' is as dark as it is hilarious, but unlike them, there
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Chop Chop

Simon Wroe

I will freely admit that I am a sucker for foodie fiction. Reading about the folks that prepare the dishes, from down-home cooks to Michelin starred chefs, never fails to grab to my interest. I can trace my fascination back to the first time I read Like Water For Chocolate - what we put in our mouths becomes us, and the hands that prepare our meals contribute more than just their time and skill. Each morsel is representative of that chef's story, their joy, their pain.

When an
Rita Ciresi
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
The narrator of this wild and outrageous debut novel is a would-be novelist who takes a shit job in a shit kitchen in a shit restaurant. The large cast of despicable kitchen bullies each are vividly drawn, and two of the chefs enter the narrative as editors and commentators on the final "draft" of the story. I loved the amped-up, electric voice in Chop Chop and many of the passages are beautifully written. The story takes quite a while to take off, since it is narrated in retrospect, and there a ...more
Shelby Ochoa
May 12, 2014 rated it did not like it
Apparently I am possibly the only on here who feels this way... however...

This book was so boring that I couldn't go any further and finish it. Granted I did make it passed halfway and at the beginning I couldn't put it down. The problem was, all of a sudden it just stopped going anywhere. Suddenly its just breezing by, even when the person who was the problem starts coming back that "BANG" this book had at the beginning wasn't even there, a fraction, but not a big enough fraction in my case. To
Tere Fredericks
Aug 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, satire
I hate it when my computer goes back a page and deletes everything I've written! ARRGH.
This is a terrific book by a first time published author.
A story about life in a "wannabe" swank restaurant outside London, darkly humorous, and really sad in places. The brutality that occurs in a kitchen "family" can make you laugh out loud or bite your knuckles in agony for the characters.
Told in first person with two editors (who are characters) the book can scare you about what goes on as you are waiting
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. From the fiercely funny descriptions of sordid characters to the poignant moments of family tragedy, I marvelled at how beautifully wrought this book is.
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was torn between3 and 4 stars for this book. While it didn't blow me away, I was still really impressed with it, hence the 4. It was pure creativity and fun with language, combining "write what you know" with appropriate flights of imagination.

From what I recall of the service industry (I've never been a chef but I've worked a server and my first ever job was as a fry cook), this is a picture perfect caricature of what it feels like in a working kitchen. The pressure, the tensions but also ho
Catrien Deys
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Very funny, scary, thus engaging and, having been in the business, also familiar; a good read all in all.
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Anyone that has worked in a kitchen will be able to connect with Simon Wroe’s debut novel, Chop Chop. It opens with the normal hustle and bustle of a fast paced kitchen, complete with hazing, vulgarity, and a whole lot of interesting characters. Within a few pages you have a quick vision of what is to come: complete with a tyrant of a boss (Bob), an off the wall pervert of a cook (Ramilov), the racist of the group (Racist Dave – and its well warranted), and the seemingly uncaring dark eyed girl ...more
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Apr 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Chop Chop by Simon Wroe is highly recommended for those who can appreciate a humorous (and realistic) look at the inside workings of the food industry.

Monocle, whose nickname is bestowed upon him based on his English Lit degree, is a recent graduate who is in desperate need of a job. He applies at The Swan, a London restaurant that is past its glory days, and is thrust into the world of professional chefs and the inner workings of a professional kitchen. Monocle learns to become a chef under ver
Joséphine (Word Revel)
Note: I received this book for free from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The thing about reading debut novels is that you never know what to expect. This abyss of the unknown is exacerbated when you have the privilege of reading a review copy. While not knowing can be disconcerting to some readers, I think it is precisely that which heightens the thrill of a book. In the case of Chop Chop, the e
Victoria Harris
First I would like to thank PenguinReaders for sending me this advance reading copy. I entered the giveaway because this book looked funny and like something I wouldn't usually read; I was right on both accounts, and I think that's why I enjoyed it so much!

Though I have never stepped foot inside a professional kitchen before, the dark satirical humour was certainly not lost on me. From the start of first chapter I felt as if I had been thrown into the frying pan of this testosterone-fuelled kitc
Apr 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I’ve read lots of restaurant kitchen books. When I was asked if I would like to review Chop Chop, I said yes, not even knowing if it was fiction or nonfiction. I had no expectations whatsoever, just another restaurant foodie book. So, to say that this met and far exceeded my expectations isn’t saying much, but it should be.

I loved this book. I loved it in a can’t put it down kind of way.

The author creates a kitchen staff of such an interesting assortment of people. The cast offs, the people wh
Nov 03, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reto-2014
Movido por la necesidad de realizar una importante confesión y de esclarecer al máximo posible los detalles de un turbio crimen cometido en circunstancias extremas, el protagonista de esta novela comienza la historia narrando su llegada a las cocinas de un restaurante situado en Camden Town cuyo jefe es conocido sobre todo por su afición a infligir castigos desproporcionados a sus trabajadores. Poco a poco iremos descubriendo los dramáticos antecedentes personales del narrador (un joven cándido ...more
Tom Donaghey
Feb 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
CHOP CHOP is first and foremost a novel about working in the kitchen of a middling restaurant in London except when it is not, and when it is not about the kitchen staff it is about family. And when it is about the kitchen staff is when it seems to be most about family.
Our narrator is derisively called “Monocle” by the chefs due to his having received a fairly useless English Lit degree, but it is this degree, this learning, that flavors the entire first person dialog of the book. On the point
Ted Lehmann
May 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Chop, Chop by Simon Wroe (Penguin Press, 2014, 288 pages, $26.95/$12.99) is a coming of age and reconciliation novel set in a marginal restaurant called The Swan in Camden Town, a trendy portion of the borough of Camden in London. Monocle, the narrator, fresh out of a mid-grade university with a degree in literature, finds himself estranged from his estranged parents, at loose ends, and looking for a job. He lands precariously at The Swan as commis (the lowest rung on the fine kitchen ladder), a ...more
Adam Kirtland
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 r
May 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
Having just finished a light restaurant novel I really enjoyed (Bread and Butter), I thought I'd pick this one up, as it looked to be a wilder and funnier take on the world of fine food preparation. The story is narrated by "Monocole", a sad sack of an Englishman who's just graduated from a middling university with a middling English lit degree and zero life skills. He's moved to the big city (London), with the aimless romantic notion that he'll make something of himself, but more importantly, e ...more
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Was I passing through this life because I was supple, pragmatic, elastic of self - or simply because I was small: small of character, small of self? But in the kitchen these questions did not arise. I knew my value at any single moment of the day. For insecure and maladjusted human beings there was no greater prize."
How often do I dole out five stars?! I adored this book and read SO slowly so it wouldn't come to an end. Our first-person hero (a young jobless man who is only ever known as The Mo
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Chop Chop is satisfying adult fiction. Equally crude and thoughtful. Piss and poetry. Loved it.
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“Perhaps all memories are inherently sad, even the happy ones, and should for that reason be avoided. Nostalgia is not so much the recollection of things past as the recollection of things you are no longer connected to.” 0 likes
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