Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson

Here’s a book for the foodies…

Marcus Samuelsson, the world-renowned chef (and hobby soccer fan), presents his memoir Yes, Chef named for the most commonly uttered phase in a kitchen. Read by the author himself in an audiobook, this collection of stories will inspire chefs and entrepreneurs as he takes us from his birthplace in rural Ethiopia to his successful Harlem restaurant, the Red Rooster.

I really loved Samuelsson’s sincerity and honesty about all aspects of his personal and professional life; the good and the bad.

He discusses his failure with a once-promising restaurant and how that emotional blow was hard to learn from. He opens up about his experiences with parenthood (or lack of parenthood) in a way that I’d never heard discussed with such candor.

Of course, we know Samuelsson is now a world-renowned chef and restaurant owner, but we aren’t so sure at the beginning of Yes, Chef. He must overcome striking odds to even get his foot in the door at the lowest level in the kitchen. He fights day after day to prove he is capable and willing. He works tirelessly to perfect his craft.

Readers are taken around the world as we follow Samuelsson on his life’s journey to become a chef. We are shown Ethiopia, Sweden, New York, Switzerland, and Austria. It really is a spectacular culmination of a lifetime of learning and tasting and cooking.

I’m a home cook and chronic fan of The Food Network so this was the perfect memoir to combine reading with another hobby. Two-for-one deal! Who says multitasking isn’t a good thing?

My favorite parts were Samuelsson’s descriptions of the food he cooked or ate. It was mesmerizing and I could tell that he truly felt an emotional connection to his work.

I was surprised to learn more about the behind-the-scenes life of a high-caliber chef. The sheer amount of grit and work ethic demonstrated by Samuelsson and his coworkers is unbelievable. I’d personally never make it in that high-demand career. It is pure chaos and insanity, what they do for years on end.

I appreciate the time he dedicates in the book to share his philanthropic activities and his true desire to give underdogs a leg up in the game. He reaches out to those left behind and gives them an outstretched hand to pull themselves up. There are no hand-outs, only earned opportunity. Fail, and he will ask you to leave.

I’d recommend this memoir to foodies all around the world. Samuelsson has a knack for creativity and it really shows in this work, as well as in his cooking.

A quick trip over to his website at will give you a glimpse of his writing style on his ‘About’ page. This is standard Samuelsson in all his glory. Be sure to check out his other numerous books, mostly cookbooks of course!

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