In the Kitchen. Monica Ali/ Doubleday. £17.99.

THE follow-up to Monica Ali’s hugely successful debut Brick Lane, was always going to be a tough one.

Would she be able to repeat the success of the novel that also became a film? Well, in a nutshell, yes. In The Kitchen is an intense insight into the world of today’s celebrity chef-types.

While not actually on TV yet, Northern-born Gabriel Lightfoot, exec chef of one of London’s top hotel restaurants, has it all to play for. He plans to open his own restaurant with an MP friend, and settle down with his singer girlfriend Charlie.

That is, until a porter is found dead in the kitchen basement and sylph-like Eastern European Lena mysteriously enters his life.