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.
This audibook is in my all-time top 10. Another reader's review led me to it (thank you!) and I was blown away by the content and the wonderful narration. Mr. Samuelsson is thoughtful and perceptive, telling his story with clarity and a desire to tell the truth about the industry and, more importantly, about himself.
What's not to like! The story of a Swedish couple creating a family, adopting two siblings (just recovered from tuberculosis) from Ethopia who would join their other foster child. The way they created a home for their children, from teaching Markus how to fish and how to cook, was beautiful. Throughout the book, Markus writes of his grandmother and parents' unconditional, but practical, love. Markus writes about his search for "flavours". He writes about the traditional European training for chefs. And, he writes about New York City. I loved this inside view of restaurants I have read about in the pages of Gourmet and Bon Appetit. Fabulous! Along the way, Mr. Samuelsson writes about the paucity of black chefs in top-ranked kitchens around the world and about his journey to bring "flavours" of the world to unique experiences of gourmet cuisine.
There are so many but two stand out in my mind. The first is Mr. Samuelsson's encounter with Gordon Ramsay - you'll have to listen to the book to understand how this encounter incorporates so many elements of Markus's journey as a man and as a top chef.
The other scene is Markus and Maya's wedding in Ethopia - again, these scenes contain so many of the elements of his personal journey. I loved the sense of colour, texture, flavours, and joy he is able to convey through his writing.
I loved this book! It made me cry and it made me laugh. It inspired me and it made me think.
Often, when an author narrates his/her own book, the result can be lacklustre. This is definitely NOT the case here. Mr. Samuelsson is the very best person for the task - he brings his desire for excellence to it, along with his lovely voice.
In all, this book has everything: a fascinating story about the world of top chefs as well as the search for excellence and identity. Along the way, something truly alchemical happens - the result is far more than the sum of its parts.
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.
tasty satisfying and full of flavor
When he had to buy back his name
The passion and love, speaking of his families
highly recommended. I'd like to eat at the Red Rooster
I heard about Marcus Samuelsson very early in his career at Aqua Vit. To hear him tell his own story, with that wonderful voice of his, is terrificly entertaining. I often listen to audio books on long drives, and this book is a great traveling 'companion', for sure.
His detailed memories of cooking with his Grandmother.
No. I've been listening in it, in "spurts", as I drive. I like the book so much, I don't want it to end!
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