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Yes, Chef: A Memoir | [Marcus Samuelsson]

Yes, Chef: A Memoir

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. Yes, Chef chronicles Marcus Samuelsson’s remarkable journey from Helga’s humble kitchen to the opening of the beloved Red Rooster in Harlem.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (671 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.3 (589 )
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3 star
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1 star
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Story
4.1 (595 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Fred King City, ON, Canada 01-07-13
    Fred King City, ON, Canada 01-07-13 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Solid Audio Book"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Yes, Chef to be better than the print version?

    N/A


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Marcus as the whole story revolved around him.


    Have you listened to any of Marcus Samuelsson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    His return to his homeland Ethopia.


    Any additional comments?

    Very good book and narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dlynn 01-07-13
    dlynn 01-07-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "We loved it"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    We have already......great true story... well narrated.....great about being a chef and lots of
    cultural relevance


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Marcus the author (autobiography)


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    no extremes....just continued interest and appreciation


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Happy customer NH 01-07-13
    Happy customer NH 01-07-13 Member Since 2005
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    9
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Surprisingly wonderful!"
    What made the experience of listening to Yes, Chef the most enjoyable?

    I like the fact that he reads his own book. Yes, he has a somewhat awkward accent but because this is a biography it adds credibility to the story and makes it rather charming.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Learning about what a true chef goes through to become really good.


    What about Marcus Samuelsson’s performance did you like?

    Answered above


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    I have no idea.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Wilsonville, OR, United States 01-04-13
    Linda Wilsonville, OR, United States 01-04-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great book"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Yes, Chef to be better than the print version?

    Great to listen to the author as he tells the story or his life


    What does Marcus Samuelsson bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He is telling his story


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    His adoption to Sweden


    Any additional comments?

    I would recommend this book to anyone

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Monte Vista, CO, United States 12-29-12
    Paul Monte Vista, CO, United States 12-29-12 Member Since 2008
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    36
    7
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Chef Samuelsson Dishes Up a Winner"
    Where does Yes, Chef rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Top 50%.


    What three words best describe Marcus Samuelsson’s voice?

    Uniquely World Influenced.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, I found myself returning to the book.


    Any additional comments?

    Mr. Samuelsson overdid the whining about race, however I do feel he has made a difference by overcoming many disadvantages to become one of the top chefs in the world. He is an innovator and not afraid to admit his shortcomings and mistakes. I highly recommend this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maureen 12-20-12
    Maureen 12-20-12

    bchrunr

    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    4
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    0
    0
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    Story
    "Great story- but painful to listen to"
    Would you try another book from Marcus Samuelsson and/or Marcus Samuelsson?

    I would read another book written by Chef Samuelsson but I won't listen to him reading it. No emotion and the cadence of how the sentences are delivered don't make any sense. Samuelsson wrote this book- yet it seemed as if he had never looked at the words before. You never know when he has finished a sentence and this makes it very hard to enjoy the fascinating story he has to tell. I am sorry that I purchased this book on Audible. I think that this would have been better as a read than a listen.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Marcus Samuelsson’s performances?

    Absolutely not- it was dreadful.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Yes, Chef?

    Cut the actor and get someone else to deliver the story to the listener


    Any additional comments?

    The story itself is great. As a foodie, it was very interesting to get in the kitchen of some of the most renowned restaurants and understand how it all works- the hierarchy, the development of a menu, the delivery of food to the customer. I am just sorry that the experience was marred by a poor delivery. I liken this experience to going to a great restaurant and having a fabulous meal- only to be spoiled by a lousy waiter.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Cook 12-07-12
    C. Cook 12-07-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    43
    35
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    10
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Insight into Chef-dom"
    What did you love best about Yes, Chef?

    Interesting, sometimes touching, and informative about serious cooking


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Yes, Chef?

    Beginning when Marcus' mother walked 75 miles to save her children


    Which character – as performed by Marcus Samuelsson – was your favorite?

    Marcus Samuelsson


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Sometimes tears, occasional laughs.


    Any additional comments?

    A good listen -- you may want to take some cooking notes :-)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James CARY, NC, United States 12-03-12
    James CARY, NC, United States 12-03-12 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    276
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I want my money back!"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Not sure who would enjoy it other than Marcus himself, but then again that's why he wrote it.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    It will certainly not be by or anything about Marcus. I heard enough.


    What didn’t you like about Marcus Samuelsson’s performance?

    Full of himself and offensive to everyone.


    What character would you cut from Yes, Chef?

    Marcus


    Any additional comments?

    This is the most self-serving, self-justifying, offensive book I have ever read or listened to. Marcus managed to offend everyone except maybe Canadians and Native Americans, although I am sure he is very capable do so if given the chance. The most offensive part is that I don't believe he has any idea on just how offensive he is to others. I am sorry that I paid for this book and Marcus was rewarded in any way. Sad to think that someone so extremely lucky, and given so many remarkable opportunities, has absolutely no gratitude for anyone other than himself. Stay away.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael El Paso, TX, United States 11-30-12
    Michael El Paso, TX, United States 11-30-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Painful to listen to this book"
    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The most interesting thing was the few tidbits of his experience with food and scattered throughout the book. The least interesting was the over narrated details about meaningless things.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The author should not have narrated the book himself. His voice is very distracting to the story. He is very monotone.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Yes, Chef?

    The whole first half of the book.


    Any additional comments?

    The first and worst part of the book is the readers voice. Very distracting, timid and devoid of feeling. It is his life and he reads it like he's reading a text book in school. I might have enjoyed the story if not for the performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katana Rogue Studio City, CA United States 11-05-12
    Katana Rogue Studio City, CA United States 11-05-12 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    59
    21
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very enjoyable"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would, especially if they were a fan of cooking or Food Network personalities. It tells a wonderful story and has many great lessons to impart to the up and coming chef.


    What three words best describe Marcus Samuelsson’s performance?

    A lot of people said his accent was hard to understand at times. I didn't feel that way, but the reading sometimes made you feel like you were in high school English when there's a break in sentence that shouldn't have been there. But that's more the director's fault than Samuelsson's.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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