AJ's Reviews > Yes, Chef

Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson
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U 50x66
's review
Apr 02, 2013

liked it
bookshelves: bio-memoir, food
Read in April, 2013


I was really looking forward to reading this book. I have a short list of books that I always check first at the library to see if they are available (and almost never are) and this was on it ever since I put it on my to-read list. So when it was finally available (on audio AND paper no less) I snatched it up.

I was a bit disappointed. I was overall ambivalent about it, but ended up giving it three stars because there were certain aspects that I really liked. I was drawn in immediately with his discussion of his Ethiopian mother, and then his Swedish mother and grandmother. I was loving the book at that point. Then, it seemed, the book took kind of a long drawn out down turn and I was bored a lot of the time. I liked the descriptions of food (as I always do), but the overview of his career just wasn't that interesting to me. Who knows, maybe I am just not meant to read many autobiographies that focus on a person's career - I just don't find them that interesting. Then, I was interested again when he went into talking about his family, like finally meeting his daughter, and finally going to Ethiopia and then finally meeting his birth family. Those are the things I really liked, and I thought were often superbly written and described. So, in all, the sections on his career kind of turned me off (I found him a bit arrogant and self-centered), but the parts about his family I loved. Perhaps it's my interest in adoption and everything that surrounds it that biased me toward those aspects of the story. In fact, I'm sure that's it - so take my review with a grain of salt.

Then, at the end, I found it to be just one big advertisement for himself and his restaurant Red Rooster. Which, for a fairly new restaurant, I found his glowing review of himself to be a little premature. However, I did like his explanations about the motives behind his restaurant and the history of Harlem.

I'm also glad Jun rented a paper version of the book so I could see the section of photos included, which are obviously not a part of the audiobook.

Overall, a decent book with some really great parts and some boring parts. But, he has a really interesting story and for that I would recommend this.

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