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5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book
I read this book in the summer and loved it. The Swedish connection perhaps adds to it, I can relate to a lot of his stories about Sweden. But even so, a great, honest and moving account of one man's journey from orphaned child in Africa to one of the most celebrated chefs in the world. As I read it I promised my mum I would buy her the book (she's a great cook and loves...
Published 12 months ago by LME

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2.0 out of 5 stars I am rather disappointed by this memoirs
I am rather disappointed by this memoirs , it lacked the entertainment of Kitchen confidential . Odd although Marcus has had an amazing life , from Ethiopian refugee , to white Sweden to harlem kitchen and ultimate success , I just couldn't become bothered by this book . It lacks passion and fire than I am sure his food has and I just became too bored to finish it...
Published 2 months ago by cartoon


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2.0 out of 5 stars I am rather disappointed by this memoirs, 21 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Yes, Chef: A Memoir (Hardcover)
I am rather disappointed by this memoirs , it lacked the entertainment of Kitchen confidential . Odd although Marcus has had an amazing life , from Ethiopian refugee , to white Sweden to harlem kitchen and ultimate success , I just couldn't become bothered by this book . It lacks passion and fire than I am sure his food has and I just became too bored to finish it . Ultimately I guess you have to have eaten at his restaurant to be really gripped . This is a rather flat memoirs for me .
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5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book, 20 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Yes, Chef: A Memoir (Paperback)
I read this book in the summer and loved it. The Swedish connection perhaps adds to it, I can relate to a lot of his stories about Sweden. But even so, a great, honest and moving account of one man's journey from orphaned child in Africa to one of the most celebrated chefs in the world. As I read it I promised my mum I would buy her the book (she's a great cook and loves food and cooking) so this will make a great Christmas present.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful ingenuous tale of a successful chef's progress from Africa to New York, 11 Sep 2013
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This book is a pleasure to read. It is beautifully written - albeit by a ghostwriter in American English - and tells the story of a three-year-old Ethiopian boy who left his home country in tragic circumstances and was adopted by a Swedish family. Brought up in Goteborg, Sweden, his passion for cooking led him to train to become a chef; first in his home town, and then in Switzerland and France. Ultimately, he found himself in New York, which he felt was "home" and where he cooked for the Obamas and won awards for his cooking. In New York, he made his dream come true: opening his own restaurant, the Red Rooster in Harlem.

This is the story of an Ethiopian from a very poor village, who has progressed to become a well-known chef. He tells his story with honesty and humility; his descriptions of family reunions, friendships and the loss of loved ones are moving. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys biographies; if you are interested in cooking too, so much the better.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A tale of life.., 7 July 2013
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This review is from: Yes, Chef: A Memoir (Paperback)
I have read the book, in fact several times firstly absorbing the factual content and then to simply absorb the story...I will repeat that word .. story. The ghost writer .... has done an admirable job of taking information and creating a natural flow and progression, it's a quick holiday read about a highly self motivated and inspirational man who fate has placed at the crossroads of choice several times over. Apart from one or two false turns, he has made paths continually in the right direction with tenacity, gusto and an endearing approach, which has led to his continued success.

Undoubtedly talented, Samuelsson deserves the accolades lauded as well as the support of the community, he has utilized his position to create good in humanity which the book lightly touches upon, although reflects that at heart he wants to give more back in thanks for his own success's.

It is an easy read, large letters well spaced and well paced, certainly rags to riches with many success and an ability to brush oneself off when knocked down and get up and go.

What I find inconsistent is alleged facts as this is a book classed as non fiction, even to the point of correctly naming the town and hotel in Switzerland, but getting the names of the restaurants incorrect. It seems sloppy where is should be factual. There are several dozen attempts to create a little sensationalism with quotes, situations of alleged abuse, critiquing a mentors ability and even a plucking of heart strings at the end of one chapter with the death of a friend. But did these really happen or are they just embellishments to keep the momentum of the ride? These are very specific memories in a 20 year time span.

For the most part Samuelsson's ghost writer meanders through a story reflecting powerful emotions and sacrifice's in a single life, propelled by his adoptive parents sense of goodness and perhaps their own achievements, Samuelsson's relatively middle class upbringing within an academic household ( his late father was also an author of text books) set him in good stead for his future.

His escapades as a young foreign chef in Switzerland is and was very similar to others who ventured into the temple of central Europe's most classical industry, yet was fortunate enough to meet a group of peers who believed in hard work, and focus. Fully accepted as a friend and team mate his loyalty and commitment placed him firmly as a key member within those brigades.

A book for the youth of today who want to join an industry which has never seen so much exposure and interest as in the present time. This journey shows what you can do if you persist, believe in yourself and treat each obstacle
as hurdle in a race to be simply jumped over.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This journey is incredible, 13 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Yes, Chef: A Memoir (Hardcover)
This is such an inspiring memoir, it's message us clear: life is a struggle, but pays off. Must read when in need for that extra push.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Life well lived so far....., 23 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Yes, Chef: A Memoir (Paperback)
If you want a truly amazing life story and you are curious about the life in the restaurant kitchen then look no further. As an inspiration for young people to follow their dream whoever they are wherever they come from, this book has it. Thank you Mr. Samuelsson for sharing your story so far.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great read, 1 Sep 2014
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This review is from: Yes, Chef: A Memoir (Paperback)
great read, interesting life. as good a read as kitchen confidential.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Show, 1 Feb 2013
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I. Darren (Fi) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Yes, Chef: A Memoir (Hardcover)
The name Marcus Samuelsson might not mean a thing to many non-Americans who don't have a particular interest in top chefs. Even many native New Yorkers, where chef Samuelsson plies his trade, might look at you blankly when questioned. The black guy who cooked at Aquavit? Ring any bells?
Well Samuelsson has an interesting story to tell, detailing his journey from his birth in rural Ethiopia to top-rate chef with several restaurants in New York, Chicago, Costa Mesa and Sweden. But Samuelsson doesn't sound very Ethiopian, you might think and you would be right - as the memoir explains he and his sister were adopted by a Swedish couple when very young after their mother died of tuberculosis. Hence the Swedish name. It would be typical Hollywood for Samuelsson to show a rags-to-riches evolution thanks to the inspiration and motivation given by his mother but sadly this is not (directly) the case. Samuelsson does not even have a photograph of his mother - and neither did her family. It is eye-wateringly sad to read in part at the start as Samuelsson seems to miss out on so many things we take for granted, even if we actually cannot recall them when pressed. The feeling, the invisible memory: they are there.
Do you have a steel heart, or is it hard to read things like "I don't know my mother's face, but I sometimes think I remember the sound of her breath. I was three when a tuberculosis epidemic hit Ethiopia. My mother was sick, I was sick, and my sister Fantaye was doing only slightly better than the two of us."? Not only that but then you discover that Samuelsson's mother walked, WALKED 75-miles, carrying her young baby, under the hot African sun to get help, and once she finally got there there were thousands of people, sick and dying, awaiting care. It was too late, however, for Samuelsson's mother, who died soon after reaching the hospital.
Lady luck was smiling on Samuelsson and his sister in any case and after six months in hospital Samuelsson was being considered for adoption by a foreign couple who was seeking a boy but the Ethiopian social worker didn't want to split up Samuelsson from his sister. As the book states, the social worker said to the prospective adoptive parents that we had already lost our mother to disease and it would be best if we didn't lose each other now.
"Yes, why not two?" came forth the reply. The journey began.
The book details Samuelsson's life to date, his trials and tribulations, his successes and setbacks. Unlike many memoirs this does not feel like an overly-positive, sugar and saccharine success story, "thanks" to the gritty, real-life stories played out over time.
Cooking was not the foremost thought of a teenage Samuelsson as football was his passion. Cooking was an after thought, a necessity and sometime family pleasure, but somehow, fortunately, it came into focus. Vocational training in Sweden, working in Swedish restaurants, training in a Swiss hotel, another tragedy and up pops Samuelsson in New York, working at a Swedish-themed restaurant. Without spoiling the story, needless to say things don't entirely go smoothly and... well.. you need to read the book.
There are more twists and turns to Samuelsson's life story (to date) than a typical Hollywood action film. There are highs and lows to share with him and as you read on you can begin to understand what has helped drive and shape Samuelsson, who has even cooked for U.S. President Clinton. What better praise could there be, being described by a former U.S. president as a chef who has reinvigorated and reimagined what it means to be American.
For a memoir there is very little real self-promotion. Samuelsson's latter-day business successes are not quite embarrassingly tucked away at the end of the story (to date) but they are hardly the centrepiece of the book where all other material is spread around. It would be fair to say that this is a memoir that will appeal not just to those who have a culinary interest. It is a real human-life memoir that would put more prolific people's stories to shame. It would not be hyperbole to say that many fiction writers would struggle to put together such a tale too. Despite the slightly derogatory comments about Hollywood, this reviewer would not be surprised if somehow, someday, Hollywood did come a calling, even if it is as a base for a fictional character.
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