For years, Elza has managed to get by. She has her own little restaurant in the Hungarian city of Delibab cooking quality versions of her country's classics and serving them with a smile. But lately her smile has become tired. She is weary of serving the same customers the same dishes, and the loveless affair with her sous-chef is now an irritation.
With her country in a state of transition from communism to capitalism, Elza embarks upon her own change. She decides to woo The Critic, one of the harshest, most powerful restaurant columnists in Europe, in the hope of landing a glowing review that will push her above the competition. But as relationships in the kitchen sour, the food threatens to turn with them, and not even Elza's strained composure can prevent the chaos that seems fated to engulf her.
Filled with charm and humour, Elza's Kitchen is a wonderful celebration of culture and cuisine, serving up all the heat, sensual delights and rich atmosphere of the restaurant itself. Resisting the comfortable pattern of her old life, Elza finds that true joy - and love - can be hidden in the most surprising of places.
Marc Fitten was born in Brooklyn, USA, and lived in Hungary from 1993-1998. He is the former editor of the Chattahoochee Review and of the Red Hen Press Literary Translation series. Marc Fitten's first novel, Valeria's Last Stand, was published in six countries. He lives in Atlanta.