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Yes, Chef

A Memoir

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eBook published by Random House (Random House Publishing Group)

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JAMES BEARD AWARD NOMINEE • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY VOGUE • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“One of the great culinary stories of our time.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times
 
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.   
 
Marcus Samuelsson was only three years old when he, his mother, and his sister—all battling tuberculosis—walked seventy-five miles to a hospital in the Ethiopian capital city of Addis Adaba. Tragically, his mother succumbed to the disease shortly after she arrived, but Marcus and his sister recovered, and one year later they were welcomed into a loving middle-class white family in Göteborg, Sweden. It was there that Marcus’s new grandmother, Helga, sparked in him a lifelong passion for food and cooking with her pan-fried herring, her freshly baked bread, and her signature roast chicken. From a very early age, there was little question what Marcus was going to be when he grew up.
 
Yes, Chef chronicles Marcus Samuelsson’s remarkable journey from Helga’s humble kitchen to some of the most demanding and cutthroat restaurants in Switzerland and France, from his grueling stints on cruise ships to his arrival in New York City, where his outsize talent and ambition finally come together at Aquavit, earning him a coveted New York Times three-star rating at the age of twenty-four. But Samuelsson’s career of  “chasing flavors,” as he calls it, 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 the beloved Red Rooster in Harlem. At Red Rooster, Samuelsson has fufilled his dream of creating a truly diverse, multiracial dining room—a place where presidents and prime ministers rub elbows with jazz musicians, aspiring artists, bus drivers, and nurses. It is a place where an orphan from Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, living in America, can feel at home.
 
With disarming honesty and intimacy, Samuelsson also opens up about his failures—the price of ambition, in human terms—and recounts his emotional journey, as a grown man, to meet the father he never knew. Yes, Chef is a tale of personal discovery, unshakable determination, and the passionate, playful pursuit of flavors—one man’s struggle to find a place for himself in the kitchen, and in the world.

Praise for Yes, Chef
 
“Such an interesting life, told with touching modesty and remarkable candor.”—Ruth Reichl
 
“Marcus Samuelsson has an incomparable story, a quiet bravery, and a lyrical and discreetly glittering style—in the kitchen and on the page. I liked this book so very, very much.”—Gabrielle Hamilton
 
“Plenty of celebrity chefs have a compelling story to tell, but none of them can top [this] one.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
“Red Rooster’s arrival in Harlem brought with it a chef who has reinvigorated and reimagined what it means to be American. In his famed dishes, and now in this memoir, Marcus Samuelsson tells a story that reaches past racial and national divides to the foundations of family, hope, and downright good food.”—President Bill Clinton




From the Hardcover edition.
Show less

JAMES BEARD AWARD NOMINEE • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY VOGUE • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“One of the great culinary stories of our time.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times
 
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.   
 
Marcus Samuelsson was only three years old when he, his mother, and his sister—all battling tuberculosis—walked seventy-five miles to a hospital in the Ethiopian capital city of Addis Adaba. Tragically, his mother succumbed to the disease shortly after she arrived, but Marcus and his sister recovered, and one year later they were welcomed into a loving middle-class white family in Göteborg, Sweden. It was there that Marcus’s new grandmother, Helga, sparked in him a lifelong passion for food and cooking with her pan-fried herring, her freshly baked bread, and her signature roast chicken. From a very early age, there was little question what Marcus was going to be when he grew up.
 
Yes, Chef chronicles Marcus Samuelsson’s remarkable journey from Helga’s humble kitchen to some of the most demanding and cutthroat restaurants in Switzerland and France, from his grueling stints on cruise ships to his arrival in New York City, where his outsize talent and ambition finally come together at Aquavit, earning him a coveted New York Times three-star rating at the age of twenty-four. But Samuelsson’s career of  “chasing flavors,” as he calls it, 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 the beloved Red Rooster in Harlem. At Red Rooster, Samuelsson has fufilled his dream of creating a truly diverse, multiracial dining room—a place where presidents and prime ministers rub elbows with jazz musicians, aspiring artists, bus drivers, and nurses. It is a place where an orphan from Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, living in America, can feel at home.
 
With disarming honesty and intimacy, Samuelsson also opens up about his failures—the price of ambition, in human terms—and recounts his emotional journey, as a grown man, to meet the father he never knew. Yes, Chef is a tale of personal discovery, unshakable determination, and the passionate, playful pursuit of flavors—one man’s struggle to find a place for himself in the kitchen, and in the world.

Praise for Yes, Chef
 
“Such an interesting life, told with touching modesty and remarkable candor.”—Ruth Reichl
 
“Marcus Samuelsson has an incomparable story, a quiet bravery, and a lyrical and discreetly glittering style—in the kitchen and on the page. I liked this book so very, very much.”—Gabrielle Hamilton
 
“Plenty of celebrity chefs have a compelling story to tell, but none of them can top [this] one.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
“Red Rooster’s arrival in Harlem brought with it a chef who has reinvigorated and reimagined what it means to be American. In his famed dishes, and now in this memoir, Marcus Samuelsson tells a story that reaches past racial and national divides to the foundations of family, hope, and downright good food.”—President Bill Clinton




From the Hardcover edition.
Product Details
eBook (336 pages)
Published: June 26, 2012
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Random House
ISBN: 9780440338819
Other books byMarcus Samuelsson
  • The Soul of a New Cuisine

    The Soul of a New Cuisine
    A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa
    "For as long as I can remember, I've had Africa on my mind." Award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson may be best known for his innovative take on Scandinavian cuisine at New York's Restaurant Aquavit, but his story begins thousands of miles away, in Africa. Born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden by adoptive parents, his life transcends national boundaries, and his individual approach to cuisine is a global yet personal one that draws freely from many ethnic and cultural influences. In The Soul of a New Cuisine, Marcus returns to the land of his birth to explore the continent's rich diversity of cultures and cuisines through recipes and stories from his travels in Africa. Stunning color images by award-winning photographer Gediyon Kifle bring the breadth of the African experience to life, from fishermen at sunset off the coast of Zanzibar to French baguettes loaded onto a bicycle in Senegal. Marcus shares more than 200 enticing recipes, including his own African-inspired creations and traditional dishes from all parts of Africa. You can delight in spicy stews and Barbequed Snapper from West Africa and the familiar Mediterranean flavors of dishes like Moroccan Lemon-Olive Chicken, or make your way east and south for the irresistible taste combinations of dishes such as Curried Trout with Coconut-Chili Sauce from Kenya and Apple-Squash Fritters from South Africa's Cape Malay. Using ingredients that are readily available in American markets, the recipes are doable as well as delicious. Of course, one of the keys to authentic African cooking is the use of spice blends and rubs, which elevate simple cooking techniques to an excitingly varied and intense level. Marcus includes his favorites here, with blends that go from sweet to spicy and feature everything from hot chili peppers and peppermint leaves to sesame seeds and ginger. As he says, Africa is "a state of mind that I hope this book will help you tap into wherever you are." By cooking with a handful of this and a pinch of that, trying new foods and enjoying old ones in a new way, and lingering over meals with family and friends, you will bring the free, relaxed spirit of African cooking to your table and discover for yourself the soul of a "new" cuisine.

    Perfect Parties

    Perfect Parties
    Tips and Advice from a New York Party Planner
    Ever wish you could host a glamorous bash like the ones covered in People magazine? You can—with tips and ideas from Linnea Johansson, party planner extraordinaire. She's thrown celebrations hosting some of the biggest names in the Big Apple, including Jennifer Lopez, Donald Trump, Reese Witherspoon, Sean Combs, and Martha Stewart. And on these fully-illustrated and festive pages is her best advice for planning a fabulous event. She covers everything from invitations to decorating, from hors d'oeuvres to cocktails. So look no further for ways to create a New Year's Eve extravaganza, birthday blowout, or even just a very special night out with friends. Whatever questions you have, Linnea has the answers.

    Perfect Parties

    Perfect Parties
    Recipes and Tips from a New York Party Planner
    Have you always wanted to throw a glamorous party, the kind you’ve heard about but only ever dreamt of attending? Now you can, with priceless tips and ideas from Linnea Johansson, one of New York City’s premier party planners. She's thrown over a thousand events big and small, from private affairs to celebrity blow-outs for stars like Jennifer Lopez, Donald Trump, Reese Witherspoon, Sean Combs, and Martha Stewart — and she’s ready to share the secrets to a successful party.

    Aquavit

    Aquavit
    And the New Scandinavian Cuisine
    In this long-awaited book, Marcus Samuelsson introduces the simple techniques and exciting combinations that have won him worldwide acclaim and placed Scandinavian cooking at the forefront of the culinary scene. Whether it's a freshly interpreted Swedish classic or a dramatically original creation, each one of the dishes has been flawlessly recreated for the home cook. Every recipe has a masterful touch that makes it strikingly new: the contrasting temperatures of Warm Beef Carpaccio in Mushroom Tea, the pleasing mix of creamy and crunchy textures in Radicchio, Bibb, and Blue Cheese Salad, the cornflake coating on a delightful rendition of Marcus's favorite "junk food," Crispy Potatoes. In "The Raw and the Cured," Marcus presents the cornerstone dishes of the Scandinavian repertoire, from a traditional Gravlax with Mustard Sauce (which gets just the right balance from a little coffee) to the internationally inspired Pickled Herring Sushi-Style. The clean, precise flavors of this food are reminiscent of Japanese cuisine but draw upon accessible Western ingredients. Marcus shows how to prepare foolproof dinners for festive occasions: Crispy Duck with Glogg Sauce, Herb-Roasted Rack of Lamb, and Prune-Stuffed Pork Roast. Step by step, offering many suggestions for substitutions and shortcuts, he guides you through the signature dishes that have made Aquavit famous, like Dill-Crusted Arctic Char with Pinot Noir Sauce, Pan-Roasted Venison Chops with Fruit and Berry Chutney, and Fois Gras "Ganache." But you'll also find dozens of homey, comforting dishes that Marcus learned from his grandmother, like Swedish Roast Chicken with Spiced Apple Rice, Chilled Potato-Chive Soup, Blueberry Bread, Corn Mashed Potatoes, ethereal Swedish Meatballs with Quick Pickled Cucumbers, and Swedish Pancakes with Lingonberry Whipped Cream. From simplest-ever snacks like Sweet and Salty Pine Nuts and Barbecued Boneless Ribs, to satisfying sandwiches like Gravlax Club, to vibrant jams and salsas and homemade flavored aquavits, Marcus Samuelsson's best recipes are here. Lavishly photographed, Aquavit and the New Scandinavian Cuisine provides all the inspiration and know-how needed for stunning success in the kitchen.

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