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Sofrito by Phillippe Diederich – Book Review

Sofrito is a 2015 novel by Haitian-American writer Phillippe Diederich. If you are wondering the meaning of the word Sofrito, it is the name of a sauce made from garlic, onion tomato and cilantro. It is an essential ingredient in Cuban delicacies. That’s how this novel is too — a mixture of things like in a recipe- philosophical, mysterious, historical, sensory.

Sofrito is about Frank Delgado, a restauranteur. He co-owns the restaurant with his brother Pepe and family friend Justo. After five years of successful running, the restaurant serving excellent Cuban food is now facing a threat of shutting down due to low business.

Now to save the once-popular restaurant from shutting down, Frank and the co-owners have just one solution – to get the unique recipe created by Frank and Pepe’s grandfather generations ago. The story follows the journey of Frank to his native land in search of the restaurant saving recipe.

It may seem a light and fun story about a man’s journey to save his source of bread and butter. But it touches depths as the story moves forward, marveling both Frank and the readers with the secrets waiting to be unearthed.

Phillippe Diederich’s writing and drafting of the characters is top class. We loved the way the writer narrated the whole story, the characters, what defines them, their journey- both past and present, about food and how it evokes a memory in a person.


Sofrito gets 4/5 stars from us. It is a delightful and gripping read. We recommend this book to everyone.