This book had great potential. I enjoyed the story of a young chef and his shaky allegiances. The language was vivid and poetic. The scenery lush. I yearned to know more of the supporting characters and their backstories. I could have loved this book, except that it fell flat when it came to its main characters. They were good characters--Kip, Kishen, et al--well, possibly. The truth is, I didn't get to know them enough to know what I truly thought of them. I didn't understand their drive, or who they were. They felt closer to cardboard cutouts detached from the sweeping novel than to people I should care about deeply. Unfortunately, for a book such as Chef, character development is a vital ingredient. Without strong characters, the end result is rather flat.