Yes, Chef: A Memoir
World-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson went from helping in his grandmother's kitchen to cooking in some of the most cut-throat restaurants in the world. Ethiopian and adopted by a white Swedish family when he was three, he shares how his Scandinavian heritage influenced his cooking style, as well as how he ultimately drew in African influences and advocates for recognition of African cuisine. He shares honestly about the ups and downs of the food world and how it made him the person he is today. Ruth Reichl praises this one as "Such an interesting life, told with touching modesty and remarkable candor."
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 Samuelsson’s journey, from his grandmother’s kitchen to his arrival in New York City, where his outsize talent and ambition finally come together at Aquavit, earning him a New York Times three-star rating at the age of twenty-four. But Samuelsson’s career of chasing flavors 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 Red Rooster in Harlem. At Red Rooster, Samuelsson has fulfilled his dream of creating a truly diverse, multiracial dining room—a place where presidents rub elbows with jazz musicians, aspiring artists, and bus drivers. It is a place where an orphan from Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, living in America, can feel at home.