Review of Yes, Chef, a memoir

Adoptee and award-winning celebrity chef, Marcus Samuelsson, is as imaginative, detail-oriented and talented in the finest kitchens around the world as he is when writing about his life. This memoir takes the reader on his journey of being born in impoverished Ethiopia, where he and his sister survived squalor and deadly disease prior to being adopted as very young children by parents from Sweden. He grows up in a caring, home with wise and loving parents who value learning and hard work and a grandmother who shares a passion for the art of cooking. While struggling academically in traditional school, playing soccer and eventually reaching young adulthood, Samuelsson experiences many adventures all kids face, however, he is constantly aware of the contrasts between the typical person of Scandinavian heritage and his Ethiopian background. He copes and manages while intensely pursuing his career in culinary studies in fine restaurants throughout Sweden, Switzerland other areas in Europe. He eventually arrives in New York City in January with $300 to his name and begins a stressful yet successful career at Aquavit, a trendy, Sweedish-fusion restaurant. His desire to achieve and learn new techniques and recipes is insatiable while he forges ahead, working long hours and battling unexpected changes in his personal and professional life while overcoming racial prejudice in his career field.

This book is engaging, entertaining and flows swiftly. You will feel hungry while reading! Samuelsson bravely and realistically conveys his feelings regarding his adoption and reunion with his birth father’s family.  The scope of information between his work and personal life details as seen from an adoptee’s perspective are balanced like an award-winning dining experience with precision flavoring, warmth, and great care.

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