“Yes, Chef” Is a Bland Title for Marcus Samuelsson’s Otherwise Incredible Memoir

When Marcus Samuelsson won Season 2 of Top Chef Masters, he technically didn’t even own a restaurant. He had a denim chef’s coat with Red Rooster printed on it, but at the time of the show’s filming, the restaurant was barely out of its conceptual stages. When Marcus was competing for the finale, he was flying back and forth from DC, hammering out the details of the menu for President Obama’s first state dinner.

When Marcus was adopted by a Swedish couple and raised in an almost completely homogenous country, the other boys used to shout “neger” at him because he was Ethiopian. When he moved to America, he learned that he would still occasionally be called a “nigger,” but at least the black and ethnic communities had a greater foothold in the States than they did in the Swedish kitchens he trained in.

In Yes, Chef, Marcus honors his Ethiopian mother with his reverence for berbere, relates his relationship with his Swedish grandmother in the way he preps his ingredients, and shows his newly adopted American spirit with his flare for modern ethnic cuisine and determination to revitalize the restaurant scene in Harlem.

I guarantee this memoir will inspire you to book a reservation at one of Chef Marcus’ tables.

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