Rohin is fifteen and, despite his father’s wishes, wants nothing to do with science in school. But what does he want to do instead? On vacation at his grandparents’ rambling haveli in Lucknow, he stumbles upon the secret diary of fifteen-year-old Hassan Ali, or Hasnu, reluctant cook’s apprentice, the despair of his father and black sheep in a long line of illustrious chefs to the nawabs of Lucknow. As Rohin reads the story of Hasnu’s doomed culinary career, he decides he has to track down Hasnu and find out what happened to the Bekaar Bawarchi. Did he escape the kitchen? What did he do instead? And how did he tell his father he didn’t want to be a cook?
Rohin’s search unearths some hilarious stories—of spotted eggs; how a famous actress demanded a hot meal; the disappearance of a khandani khazana; of friends and kitchens…
And one day Rohin realizes what it is he wants to do with his own life.