In this super-feel-good foodie comedy, young Manhattan chef Samir rediscovers his heritage and his passion for life through the enchanting art of cooking Indian food.


David Kaplan


Aasif Mandvi (screenplay), Jonathan Bines (screenplay) | 1 more credit »





Credited cast:
Jess Weixler ... Carrie
Dean Winters ... Steve
Aarti Mann ... Henna (as Aarti Majmudar)
Kevin Corrigan ... Stanton
Aasif Mandvi ... Samir
Amir Arison ... Dr. Semaan
Erica Peeples ... Waitress
Harish Patel ... Hakim
Kumar Pallana ... Regular #2
Naseeruddin Shah ... Akbar
Ajay Naidu ... Munnamia
Angela Lewis ... Woman Looking at Menu
Kevin Breznahan ... Freddie
Chloe Brooks ... Woman #2 (as Chloe Cmarada)
Madhur Jaffrey ... Farrida


Samir is a sous chef in Manhattan. He quits when he's not promoted - his boss says his cooking lacks soul. He decides to find an unpaid internship in Paris, but his father suffers a heart attack keeping him home for a few weeks. Samir must run the family's failing Indian restaurant in Queens. He can't cook Indian food, so things get dire when the chef quits: Samir tracks down Akbar, a cabbie who claims to have cooked for British royalty in Bombay. Akbar cooks with mind, heart, and gut - and offers philosophy as well. With the help of Carrie, whom he met at the Manhattan restaurant, Samir begins to enjoy the work. But will his father approve, and if not, what then? Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

chef | cooking | cook | food | indian food | See All (33) »


Life Has No Recipe



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The restaurant shown in the movie is now Thakali Kitchen in Flushing, NY, specializing in Nepalese and Tibetan cuisine. See more »


Regular #1: A man should have three passions in his life: his work, his religion, and his cricket.
Regular #3: What about his wife?
Regular #1: A wife is not a passion. A wife is... an expense!
See more »


Spin-off Today's Special: New York Indian (2012) See more »


What's Under The House
Written by Siddhartha Khosla
Performed by Goldspot
See more »

User Reviews

interesting flavors
13 August 2020 | by SnoopyStyleSee all my reviews

Samir (Aasif Mandvi) is a sous chef at an upscale modern New York restaurant cooking western cuisine. He works tirelessly and the head chef takes all the credit. When his expected promotion to head chef is taken away, he quits and decides to go to Paris to work for one of the greats. When his father has a heart-attack, he has to take over the family restaurant and hires a taxi driver (Naseeruddin Shah) to be his new cook. He falls for single mom Carrie (Jess Weixler).

Aasif is playing it with a bit too much anger. That particular spice can be off-putting if there is too much of it in the meal. He needs to dial it back a dash. There is some fine food porn early on but I'm surprised that the movie doesn't do more with the Indian cooking. The most memorable part of the cooking is the live chickens. That brings up the evolution of Samir's food. When the hipsters walk away from Samir's dad, I thought the movie would have Samir add Indian flavors to his western cooking to create a new food fusion. It wouldn't be a revolutionary idea but at least, it would look like it. I figured that his new old world cooking would be the talk of the town and overshadow his old boss with the 25 year old protégé. That's the move. Everything else is rather conventional despite its ethnic flavors. The flavors are interesting but it needs something more.

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English | Hindi

Release Date:

11 November 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Untitled Aasif Mandvi Feature Project See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$90,639, 21 November 2010

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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