Of all the memoirs I've listened to by male chefs born in Ethiopia, adopted and raised in Sweden, who wanted to be a soccer star but got cut from the team, and found his place in the kitchens of great restaurants through Europe and New York, and then went on to open one of Harlem's most iconic restaurants, Yes, Chef is definitely the best one! Okay, it's the only one. Who has a life like that?
Lucky for us, Marcus Samuelsson has a life like that. And he opens up and shares it all with us in this beautiful memoir. Whether you know him as one of the best-dressed judges on Chopped; as a fierce competitor on Top Chef Masters or Next Iron Chef; as chef/owner of Red Rooster, Ginny's Supper Club, and one of his other restaurants; or as the author of cookbooks filled with inventive and flavorful recipes; Marcus Samuelsson is a force to be reckoned with. And this memoir tells the story of how he became the chef and leader he is today.
Read by the chef himself (aren't all the best audio memoirs read by the authors?), this is a spell-binding journey from Africa to Sweden to the kitchen. Samuelsson tells his story with honesty and depth. He doesn't shy away from the difficult times in his life, from his failures, or from his challenges. Throughout his life, he has found meaning in family and in his roots. His love of food from Europe as well as from Africa inform his dishes as well as his perspective on life and relationships.
While this may not be the road that most chefs take to find success, I can't imagine Marcus Samuelsson becoming who he is in any way other than this. His hard work and positive attitude are an inspiration to us all. And his knack for mixing and matching flavors is a lesson in finding balance for us all.