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Yes, Chef (Lib)(CD) [Audio CD]

Marcus Samuelsson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 26 2012

JAMES BEARD AWARD NOMINEE • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY VOGUE • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“One of the great culinary stories of our time.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times
 
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 seventy-five 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 twenty-four. 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 important, 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.

Praise for Yes, Chef
 
“Such an interesting life, told with touching modesty and remarkable candor.”—Ruth Reichl
 
“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
 
“Plenty of celebrity chefs have a compelling story to tell, but none of them can top [this] one.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
“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

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Review

Advance praise for Yes, Chef
 
“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, bestselling 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, bestselling author of Blood, Bones, & Butter
 
“The pleasures of this memoir are numerous. Marcus Samuelsson’s life, like his cooking, reflects splendidly multicultural influences and educations, and he writes about it all with an abundance of flavor and verve. A delicious read.”—Henry Louis Gates, Jr. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

A James Beard Award–winning chef and author of several cookbooks, Marcus Samuelsson has appeared on Today, Charlie Rose, Iron Chef, and Top Chef Masters, where he took first place. In 1995, for his work at Aquavit, Samuelsson became the youngest chef ever to receive a three-star review from The New York Times. His newest restaurant, Red Rooster, recently opened in Harlem, where he lives with his wife.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific insight into becomming a chef. Sept. 30 2012
By Roberta
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A terrific book. Written in a clear and insightful style. A very personal look at the life of world class chef, Marcus Samuelsson. I sent it to my granddaughter who wants to become a chef and knew immediately who Marcus is. She has seen him on television and is a fan. It clearly coveys the hard work and dedication needed to succeed in the world of people working in the hospitality industry. Until I read his book I had no real appreciation of the commitment needed to succeed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts... July 22 2012
By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
4.5 stars...

In his elegantly written new memoir, Marcus Samuelsson chronicles his remarkable journey from near death in an Ethiopian tuberculosis epidemic to celebrity chef. Largely, "Yes, Chef" reads like a personal tale about the bonds Samuelsson forms with his family: his adoptive Swedish parents, the biological father he had long thought dead, his half-siblings and the estranged daughter he fathered during a fling as a young culinary student.

But above all, this is a tale of hard work. Samuelsson applies himself to cooking with boundless love and devotion. He pushes himself through cooking school and into starter jobs and unpaid internships in increasingly prestigious restaurants all over the world. Landing in New York, he joins the kitchen of Swedish restaurant Aquavit and, at the age of 24, becomes executive chef and receives a three-star review from "The New York Times" restaurant critic, Ruth Reichl. He goes on to win a James Beard award, appear on 'Top Chef Masters,' and create the Obamas' first official state dinner.

Anyone interested in a career in the kitchen will benefit from the anecdotes and advice in 'Yes, Chef.' Anyone interested in food and the restaurant industry will thoroughly enjoy Samuelsson's story. It strips away any misbegotten notions of glamour that aspiring chefs may have gleaned from food television. Instead, it offers a model of how to comport oneself in the kitchen, with humility and endless effort. The memoir also offers insight into how chefs think, build flavors and create dishes.

Samuelsson eternally champions the flavors of the world and challenges the dominance of French cuisine. "'Food and flavours,'" he writes, '"have become my first language.'"
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5.0 out of 5 stars Total Dedication and Determination April 18 2014
By Joel Martineau TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
In the fiercely hierarchical kitchens of renowned restaurants aspiring chefs have only one reply to whatever their immediate superior shouts -- "Yes, Chef." They win acceptance into kitchen culture by conforming to the dictates of the moments and performing their duties professionally and promptly, time after countless time. They must suppress fanciful notions of individuality and advancement and realize that the winning strategy is to not be seen -- to simply keep fulfilling their roles. In due course the master chefs will notice their abilities and dedication and move them up the chain. With tremendous luck they might become stars. Marcus Samuelsson charts this arduous journey in a more soulful way than any other celebrity chef.

Yes, Chef begins with his mother, four-year-old sister and toddling Marcus trapped in a tuberculosis plague in Ethiopia. The mother walks from their village to Addis Ababa and miraculously bypasses thousands seeking medical attention to gain admittance to a hospital. She dies and as Marcus and his sibling recover they are entered into adoption channels. Much of the memoir focuses on the remarkable Swedish family that adopts them. His Swedish grandmother establishes a tradition in which Marcus helps her prepare the Sunday family dinner, and when his father urges the fifteen-year-old Marcus towards academia Marcus knows that the kitchen will become his home.

The second half of the memoir traces the journey from culinary school in Goteborg to apprenticing in good and then great restaurants to becoming executive chef at Aquavit in New York to being invited to prepare a special dinner in the White House, and -- the ultimate honor -- having President Obama dine in Red Rooster, the thriving restaurant Marcus now owns in Harlem.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A very human chef Jan. 3 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A well written and tasteful account of the roots and development of a chef's philosophy's, professional ethos, and passions as he grows from a refugee child adopted to a foreign country through to a great role model for chef's, especially male chefs, everywhere..
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bland. Feb. 2 2013
By Neko
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Marcus Samuelson may cook with passion, but his memoir is totally devoid of emotional depth. It is a long, drawn out monologue of places he has worked, chefs he has met / been snubbed by / worked with and restaurants he has been involved in. He portrays himself as a bit of a jerk when friends and family members die and he simply goes back to work. He fathers a child and waits 14 years (that's 14 YEARS) before going to see her. He marries a wonderful, beautiful, interesting lady and she barely gets a mention. The only time his writing picks up is when he visits Ethiopia for the first time, but even then the passion is short lived. I would recommend giving this book a miss and instead buy a copy of "Soul of a New Cuisine" by the same author. This fabulous book is rich in cultural observations with vibrant pictures, great recipes and all the passion I hoped to find in his memoir, but didn't.
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