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Yes, Chef: A Memoir Kindle Edition
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|Length: 354 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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“I’ve read a lot of chefs’ books, but never anything like this one. Marcus Samuelsson has had such an interesting life, and he talks about it with touching modesty and remarkable candor. I couldn’t put this book down.” —Ruth Reichl, bestselling author of Tender at the Bone
“Marcus Samuelsson has an incomparable story, a quiet bravery, and a lyrical and discreetly glittering style—in the kitchen and on the page. I liked this book so very, very much.” —Gabrielle Hamilton, bestselling author of Blood, Bones, & Butter
“The pleasures of this memoir are numerous. Marcus Samuelsson’s life, like his cooking, reflects splendidly multicultural influences and educations, and he writes about it all with an abundance of flavor and verve. A delicious read.” —Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
About the Author
A James Beard Award–winning chef and author of several cookbooks, Marcus Samuelsson has appeared on Today, Charlie Rose, Iron Chef, and Top Chef Masters, where he took first place. In 1995, for his work at Aquavit, Samuelsson became the youngest chef ever to receive a three-star review from The New York Times. His newest restaurant, Red Rooster, recently opened in Harlem, where he lives with his wife.--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- Publication date : June 26, 2012
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 354 pages
- File size : 6174 KB
- Publisher : Random House (June 26, 2012)
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Language: : English
- Screen Reader : Supported
- ASIN : B005SHQGBM
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #110,669 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Overall, delivering a memoir that pulls on all the senses, from the choices Marcus made selecting friends, his lessons learned acknowledging mistakes, his passion for cooking, which includes a broad professional culinary education, along with sacrifices he’s taken on... like the many people he’s mentored...near and far, none more so than his half sisters, makes Yes, Chef a phenomenal treat to experience! Absolutely redeemable. Highly recommended. Simply a Must!
Besides winning Top Chef Masters in 2010, he is probably best known as the 3-star Chef of Aquavit in NYC in the mid 90's. The bulk of the book eloquently describes the windy, grueling path he took to become a World famous Chef. It was a lot less glamourous than a lot of people would think e.g. his first job involved getting up every morning at 6 AM and scrubbing the walk-in (refrigerator) from top to bottom. I actually had the pleasure of working in the Pastry Kitchen at Mesa Grill in 1994-1995 and he is right - there is really nothing glamourous about working in a kitchen unless you are the Head Chef (who has had to work many years to get to the top). Even though the bulk of the book talks about his various restaurant experiences, it is a very personal memoir. The biggest shocker was that he fathered a daughter when he was 19 years old. And although he was financially responsible for her well-being (at his Mother's insistence) he wasn't there for her emotionally or physically at all. I have to say that learning this fact made me really dislike him. He finally decides to meet her when she is a teenager and hopefully, they have a good relationship now. The main reason he gives for not being a "Father" to her is that he didn't want to be the stereotypical African American male who fosters a child at 19. In fact, he hides it from all of his employers and most of his friends. The book touches a lot on the delicate topic of race. As an Ethiopian who is raised in Sweden then working in NYC, in a field dominated by White males, I don't think he can escape that complex topic. When he is snubbed by a fancy restaurant (apparently on appearance alone) he writes "I made it a point not to dwell on the matter of race. I believed in my knife skills, and my sense of taste, and my capability to listen and get things done. I was never afraid of hard work."
I think the best way to describe both the book and the Chef is dubbing him the "Berbere" of Chefs. Berbere is a very complex spice used in Ethiopian cuisine - among its many ingredients are: chile , black pepper, salt, cardamon, ginger, etc. Marcus' diverse experiences has made him a very complex man/Chef. Yes, I really disliked how he treated his own daughter yet I couldn't help warming up to him when he describes how he fought to have his Ethiopian sisters back home get Schooling. And how he would often take a huge gamble on someone that didn't have the resume to work at a 3-start restaurant. Or cook the identical meal he served the President of the United States to the neighborhood children in his Harlem apartment. By the end of the book, I felt very privileged to have had access to such a personal look into that life of a great Chef.
Top reviews from other countries
This is the story of an Ethiopian from a very poor village, who has progressed to become a well-known chef. He tells his story with honesty and humility; his descriptions of family reunions, friendships and the loss of loved ones are moving. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys biographies; if you are interested in cooking too, so much the better.
Undoubtedly talented, Samuelsson deserves the accolades lauded as well as the support of the community, he has utilized his position to create good in humanity which the book lightly touches upon, although reflects that at heart he wants to give more back in thanks for his own success's.
It is an easy read, large letters well spaced and well paced, certainly rags to riches with many success and an ability to brush oneself off when knocked down and get up and go.
What I find inconsistent is alleged facts as this is a book classed as non fiction, even to the point of correctly naming the town and hotel in Switzerland, but getting the names of the restaurants incorrect. It seems sloppy where is should be factual. There are several dozen attempts to create a little sensationalism with quotes, situations of alleged abuse, critiquing a mentors ability and even a plucking of heart strings at the end of one chapter with the death of a friend. But did these really happen or are they just embellishments to keep the momentum of the ride? These are very specific memories in a 20 year time span.
For the most part Samuelsson's ghost writer meanders through a story reflecting powerful emotions and sacrifice's in a single life, propelled by his adoptive parents sense of goodness and perhaps their own achievements, Samuelsson's relatively middle class upbringing within an academic household ( his late father was also an author of text books) set him in good stead for his future.
His escapades as a young foreign chef in Switzerland is and was very similar to others who ventured into the temple of central Europe's most classical industry, yet was fortunate enough to meet a group of peers who believed in hard work, and focus. Fully accepted as a friend and team mate his loyalty and commitment placed him firmly as a key member within those brigades.
A book for the youth of today who want to join an industry which has never seen so much exposure and interest as in the present time. This journey shows what you can do if you persist, believe in yourself and treat each obstacle
as hurdle in a race to be simply jumped over.