Fascinating story of an immigrant who faced so many obstacles and overcame them to become a well known and revered chef in the US.
His first impressions when he first got to the US
He has feeling and sentimentality.
The racial bias he encountered in Nice when looking for a job
One does not have to be a "foodie" to appreciate this story!!
I wanted hard to really like this book but in the end was disappointed - I ended up not really liking Marcus (especially after I watched him on MasterChef) and I felt that the book could have been 25% shorter. That said I thought the book was fine, but nothing special.
To be fair his tale is quite cool starting with his adoption, his incredible Swedish parents and his drive to succeed especially having to battle against stereotyping. I guess all chefs that are successful have to be a little bit crazy and egotistical to make it up through the ranks of that profession. If the book is to be believed (which I think it can) then good old Gordon Ramsay is ever so slightly racist and should perhaps swap his current Kitchen whites for Klan whites. Shame on him, I grew up in Scotland and know what it was like - but Gordon like many, should know better now.
I was hoping that the rags to riches/underdog tale would have left me feeling better about Marcus's rise to fame, though I do have to admire and respect him for his focus, determination and culinary skills.
I love watching cooking shows on TV with my daughter and my husband and we try to guess who will be eliminated and why. This book is by one of the chefs who is often a judge on 'Chopped'. He is not warm and fuzzy, but he seems very sharp and very focused. Listening to this book explains a lot of that attitude. His is the story of an Ethiopian orphan adopted by a Swedish family who grew up to love cooking and to aim for very great success very young. His story is well told and interesting, although he is not a professional reader and the performance would have been better with a professional reader. However, his own voice does bring something to the story....just not better comprehension. He gives a wonderful picture of what European kitchens are like and how he came to prefer life in New York. He also reveals a lot about his personal life. But for the most part it is a very fascinating book with just a little preachiness at the end. But I enjoyed it enough to read it very quickly.
In the top 10.
I have been a fan of Chef Marcus for a while anyway. I found his story extremely interesting and so heartfelt and honest.
Personally I loved his reading it himself. It made it very personal and I intimate, I doubt anyone else could have read it better.
I was simply immersed in his story and very interested to learn about both of his families and all the help and attention he brings to his original people. I also loved his relationship with his adopted family and their strength and warmth.
Loved his attention to food, and food fusion. I made the spice mixture myself and have become interested in Ethiopian food.
I enjoyed listening to Marcus Samuelsson's recount his journey to becoming a top chef and his joys and heartbreaks along the way. I found his enormous drive and ambition and courage inspiring, despite unfortunate setbacks, heartbreaking events, and blatant discrimination he encountered.
I did think his behavior was absolutely despicable at times, especially in his early treatment of Zoe. However, one could chalk this up to youth and immaturity, since when he was somewhat older and wiser he tried to make things right. It also helped that he had an outstanding mother to instill good character. He seemed very passionate in his dedication, work ethic and humility on the job as he learned the ropes and put in his dues. On the other hand, I couldn't help but notice a constant and persistent undertone of self-importance and ego. Perhaps this is a necessary trait to be a successful chef and leader, though.
Samuelsson's thick Swedish accent was a bit distracting at times, as well as his creative pronunciation of many English words. At key points in the story, I thought it was a big plus having him as the reader, since he really displayed the genuine feelings of heartbreak, anger, confusion or joy he had experienced.
Overall this book was really enjoyable, and absolutely delicious!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Though the story is about a chef, the story line and information presented covered numerous other topics - culture, cooking, theories, and life lessons.
The 'underdog' perspective presented. So much can come from difficulty - and Samuelsson absolutely shows that.
First, I'll agree with other comments I've seen - it took some getting used to listening to Samuelsson due to his accent and cadence. But, after getting in the right head space, I enjoyed having Samuelsson share his own story. You could hear his passion, sadness, and joy.
There were times when I wanted to smack Marcus in the head and tell him to get it together.........but it is his story.
Nope........think I'm done. It was OK while it lasted.
I do like the fact that he took the risk to tell his own story.........just wouldn't change anything. It is him.
I wouldn't go see it. The story is not that intriguing to me. I do love his parents and grandma
I really enjoyed Marcus Samuelsson's life story and particularly liked hearing about the path he followed to prepare to be a top chef. From his youth in Sweden through his career so far and his rediscovery of his family in Ethiopia, Samuelsson tells the story in an honest straightforward style and though he stumbles in the narration occasionally, it's an enjoyable listen.
As a Food Network fan, Marcus Samuelsson had always intrigued me. A black chef from Sweden? A gentle, soft-spoken chef on Chopped? Something didn't add up! This book explains that, and more, and Marcus' reading was the icing on the Princesstårta, so to speak.
My DH and I had actually eaten at his restaurant (sent by our hotel concierge) in NYC many years ago and still talk about the wonderful experience we had. If only we had known who he was then! And until I read the book, I was still ignorant about his connection with Aquavit (embarrassing, but true)!
Marcus' story is sweet, intriguing, and brutally honest. Without his two mothers, he wouldn't be where he is today (literally and figuratively). And the fact that he doesn't hide his warts or make excuses for them, lets us be disappointed at times (encourages us to, in fact) is endearing. This is so much more than a book about a cook, and yet all the pieces add up to why he is such a popular, beloved, down-to-earth man who happens to be a world-reknowned chef. Even if you aren't interested in cooking, you will be fascinated by the very human Marcus Samuelsson.
Marcus Samuelsson's memoir is a fascinating look into the behind-the-scenes strategies, politics and practices of kitchens in fine dining restaurants, as well as an honest, endearing (without being sentimental), and revealing memoir about the career and life of this famous multicultural chef.