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)
Maybe not. His description about the challenges he faced succeeding in a tough industry were interesting. I was not terribly impressed with how he handled some of his personal struggles though.
Marcus has a smooth voice and a nice rhythim to his reading.
I didn't read the print version, but hearing Marcus Samuelsson's voice and accent make his incredible life story very real.
I don't know. This is a very well written memoir of an incredible life, told by the author. And I am not a foodie.
No, but now I really wish I could go to his restaurant!
I can't wait for the book to be translated in French so I can give it to all my friends in France.
I found it interesting to hear about the steps this man took to become a top-ranked chef. It was funny in places, and overall a well written story. Unlike some other reviewers, I did not have any trouble understanding the author/reader. I did ding him because he isn't an actor, and therefore there was no voice change between characters, but that never made the book difficult to follow.
If you are interested in regional cuisine and the food world in general, then you will probably enjoy this book.
Every aspect of this book works. The basic life story is fascinating, the insight into the inner workings of the kitchen are great and his observations of society- always as an outsider- are very revealing.
Marcus as the whole story revolved around him.
His return to his homeland Ethopia.
Very good book and narration.
We have already......great true story... well narrated.....great about being a chef and lots of
Marcus the author (autobiography)
no extremes....just continued interest and appreciation
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.
Learning about what a true chef goes through to become really good.
I have no idea.
Great to listen to the author as he tells the story or his life
He is telling his story
His adoption to Sweden
I would recommend this book to anyone
Uniquely World Influenced.
Yes, I found myself returning to the book.
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.
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.
Absolutely not- it was dreadful.
Cut the actor and get someone else to deliver the story to the listener
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.
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