Book Review: Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson

Weekend Cooking, Cooking books, food books

This post is part of fellow book blogger, Beth Fish Reads‘, weekly meme (a “community” blog post, for all those non-bloggers out there) called Weekend Cooking. I originally reviewed Yes, Chef in November, 2013, but thought I would bring it out again for Weekend Cooking!

Yes Chef, Marcus Samuelsson, Red Rooster, Top ChefNonfiction – Cooking/Memoir (Released June, 2012)
Bottom Line: Skip it…unless you love cooking and restaurants.
Link to this book on Amazon

Plot Summary:
Chef Marcus Samuelsson shares his background as an Ethiopian orphan adopted by a Swedish family and his rise through the culinary world, culminating in a “Top Chef Masters” win and his own restaurant, Red Rooster.

My Thoughts:
I had mixed feelings about this book. The first part was repetitive and slow-moving, even though Samuelsson has a unique personal story (i.e. lots of material for a memoir). There are other books that describe culinary school and what it’s like to try to “make it” as an elite chef with much more vibrancy.

I also wish he had included more about his experience on “Top Chef Masters” – which would have helped this book appeal to a broader audience.

However, the last part of the book really picked up – I loved learning the history behind the NYC restaurants he was involved with, especially how he founded Red Rooster and made it a success against unfavorable odds. Big time “foodies” may enjoy this book, but it is too niche to recommend to a general audience.

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12 Comments

  1. I met Marcus last year at Random House Open House and heard him speak. He has such an interesting story, and I appreciate your honest review of his book.

    Posted 4.5.14 Reply
    • admin wrote:

      That’s fantastic – I’d love to hear him speak! I do think he has such an unique background and wish it had come through more in the book. Have you read the book?

      Posted 4.5.14 Reply
  2. Interesting that the most compelling part of the memoir is about the Red Rooster when he has such an intriguing background.

    Posted 4.5.14 Reply
  3. I agree with your assessment of this book. Not as good as some others in this genre. Cheers

    Posted 4.5.14 Reply
    • admin wrote:

      Thanks for your comment and for stopping by!

      Posted 4.5.14 Reply
  4. Thanks for the review. I was a big fan of Marcus when he was on Top Chef, but I haven’t gotten around tor reading his book yet.

    Posted 4.5.14 Reply
    • admin wrote:

      Me too! Loved him on Top Chef and still love watching him on Chopped!

      Posted 4.5.14 Reply
  5. Beth F wrote:

    funny that we both reviewed food memoirs today. I was at that some Random House open house and thought he was such an interesting and nice person. I haven’t read his book yet.

    Posted 4.5.14 Reply
    • admin wrote:

      I guess we both didn’t do much cooking last week! I know I didn’t!

      Posted 4.5.14 Reply
  6. Jackie wrote:

    I agree with your review even though I am a huge foodie. There was just something about it that didn’t grab my interest as much as his story should have.

    Posted 4.5.14 Reply
  7. Shelleyrae wrote:

    A shame the potential of this memoir wasn’t reached as his story does sound interesting. Thanks for sharing your review.

    Posted 4.6.14 Reply
  8. Cecelia wrote:

    Interesting! I’ve heard mixed things about this one, but I was intrigued by Marcus’ background. Too bad – it sounds like that’s the weakest part of this book!

    Posted 4.6.14 Reply

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