Audie Award Nominee, Narration by the Author or Authors, 2013
It begins with a simple ritual: Every Saturday afternoon, a boy who loves to cook walks to his grandmother’s house and helps her prepare a roast chicken for dinner. The grandmother is Swedish, a retired domestic. The boy is Ethiopian and adopted, and he will grow up to become the world-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson. This book is his love letter to food and family in all its manifestations.
Marcus Samuelsson was only three years old when he, his mother, and his sister - all battling tuberculosis - walked 75 miles to a hospital in the Ethiopian capital city of Addis Adaba. Tragically, his mother succumbed to the disease shortly after she arrived, but Marcus and his sister recovered, and one year later they were welcomed into a loving middle-class white family in Göteborg, Sweden. It was there that Marcus’s new grandmother, Helga, sparked in him a lifelong passion for food and cooking with her pan-fried herring, her freshly baked bread, and her signature roast chicken. From a very early age, there was little question what Marcus was going to be when he grew up.
Yes, Chef chronicles Marcus Samuelsson’s remarkable journey from Helga’s humble kitchen to some of the most demanding and cutthroat restaurants in Switzerland and France, from his grueling stints on cruise ships to his arrival in New York City, where his outsize talent and ambition finally come together at Aquavit, earning him a coveted New York Times three-star rating at the age of 24. But Samuelsson’s career of “chasing flavors”, as he calls it, had only just begun - in the intervening years, there have been White House state dinners, career crises, reality show triumphs, and, most importantly, the opening of the beloved Red Rooster in Harlem.
At Red Rooster, Samuelsson has fufilled his dream of creating a truly diverse, multiracial dining room - a place where presidents and prime ministers rub elbows with jazz musicians, aspiring artists, bus drivers, and nurses. It is a place where an orphan from Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, living in America, can feel at home.
With disarming honesty and intimacy, Samuelsson also opens up about his failures - the price of ambition, in human terms - and recounts his emotional journey, as a grown man, to meet the father he never knew. Yes, Chef is a tale of personal discovery, unshakable determination, and the passionate, playful pursuit of flavors - one man’s struggle to find a place for himself in the kitchen, and in the world.
©2012 Marcus Samuelsson (P)2012 Random House Audio
"The Red Rooster's arrival in Harlem brought with it a chef who has reinvigorated and reimagined what it means to be American. In his famed dishes, and now in this memoir, Marcus Samuelsson tells a story that reaches past racial and national divides to the foundations of family, hope, and downright good food." (President Bill Clinton)
"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, best-selling 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, best-selling author of Blood, Bones, & Butter)
CPA, CFP, and serial audiophile.
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.
Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy
I loved everything about this book--Marcus' amazing story of going from Ethiopian orphan to Swedish adoptee to a world-renowned chef. I also really appreciated the fact that he narrated his own story--it makes a memoir so much more enjoyable. So a few words were mispronounced--who cares, really? It happens with the most professional of narrators.
I was so impressed with his drive for success and his true love of food--especially his continuing quest for the most wonderful mix of flavors. In listening to his story, you just know that Marcus HAD to succeed, there couldn't be any other outcome.
I wish him all the best and wish New York wasn't so far away from California, as I would love to hang out at The Red Rooster!
A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!
Marcus' story of being born on one continent, raised in another and finding himself in a third is interesting and inspiring. His background has given him a good grasp on what is important in life and he lives to pursue those things. Yes, Chef, is more of a look at his life, than the restaurant industry, so if you are looking for an "industry insider" story, you won't find much of one here.
I listened to this book, narrated by the author. Occasionally the narration was hard for me to understand because of Marcus' accent, but it was well worth it to hear him tell his own tale.
I have always loved to read, and now I really enjoy listening to my books as well!!
I was not aware of Marcus Samuelsson prior to purchasing this book--but I'm very happy I listened to his memoir. I thoroughly enjoyed it!!
It was fun to listen to him talk about his early life, his early culinary years, and of course, his current success in the restaurant world. Through the many ups and down, I just wanted to cheer him on--
I loved that he narrated this audiobook--his accent was a little distracting at first, but I quickly got past it. He, and his memoir, were totally charming!!
I had never heard about Chef Samuelsson when I picked up this title. I loved his descriptions of the culinary world and how his life experiences and origins influenced his taste in food and his prepation techniques. But this is much more than just about food. He also takes his listeners through the stages of his life and talks about what made him who he is today through an eye-opening journey that covers several continents and a multitude of kitchens, and talks about his origin, his families and friends with love and candor without glossing over some of the big mistakes he made. The reading of the book by the author, with its different delivery and little quirks, adds authenticity to the story.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. It was fascinating to hear how he got where he is today and to hear his story.
None that I can think of.
No I haven't heard anything else he has done, but I might now.
I am truly unable to rate the book, becuase I found listening to Samuelsson so distracting, I could not listen beyond the first hour. I enjoy watching Marcus on the Food Network and his story seems like it would be very interesting, But I did not realize how distracting his accent would be too me.
I guess I am actually going to have to READ this one, if I want the whole story
a tasty adventure
great reading from Samuelsson, a really interesting meander through Europe, NYC and Ethiopia. anyone who enjoys stellar food writing like Ruth Reichl or Anthony Bourdain should read this one - but there's also a great balance with Samuelsson's truly interesting story, from growing up adopted in Sweden to finding fame in the US, to reconnecting with his African roots. all around a great audiobook.
i'm the type that needs to take a break every once in a while - but it was pretty captivating and a great companion to a 3 day road trip.
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