You guys, I am so glad I made the decision to listen to Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson as an audiobook instead of just reading it. I loved basically every single thing about this listen: from his voice to the food to the places. This was definitely 12 hours well spent.
Deciding to read Yes, Chef was a no-brainer. I love reading memoirs anyway, and I am also obsessed with the Food Network. I’d seen Marcus Samuelsson compete in various competitions and had already fallen hook, line and sinker for his incredible voice. Thus the need to listen to his story on audio was born.
This is easily my favorite of the audiobooks I’ve listened to so far. When I say I’m in love with this man’s voice? I MEAN IT, Y’ALL. His accent is gorgeous. I absolutely loved hearing his life story unfold via his own words. Also – the book was extremely well written and organized wonderfully. I’m pretty sure he had some help with all that technical stuff…but still. His voice rings true in every word.
Plus, his life is fascinating! Seriously, Marcus Samuelsson has done more with his life than pretty much anyone I know. The goals he set for himself at a young age tie everything in Yes, Chef together as all the big decisions he makes in his early life are in preparation for what he really wants to accomplish. This isn’t a fairy tale though – he doesn’t gloss over his mistakes, and he makes some big ones. One or two of the things he did were serious dick moves.
Tragic circumstances in Ethiopia where he was born lead he and his sister to be adopted by a Swedish family when he was only 4. Almost immediately, he was inspired by his new grandmother Helga and her cooking. From that point on, the “chef” switch was turned on his brain and he never looked back. From apprenticeships in Switzerland and France to a stint cooking on a cruise ship, we follow Marcus on his journey to New York City. A few various successes and missteps later, he finally opens his dream restaurant in Harlem – Red Rooster. I was so inspired by his journey and excited about him achieving his dreams that I’m pretty sure I felt like doing a fist-pumping victory lap when he finally got there.
There are also emotional successes and missteps – from a daughter he doesn’t forge a relationship with for several years to the opportunity to connect with his birth father’s family in Ethiopia. Yes, Chef has a little bit of everything – like I told you, Marcus Samuelsson has accomplished a lot.
Of course, far and away the star of his book is food. The dishes, spices and temperaments of the chefs he works for all change as he moves from place to place. There is such emotion and excitement visible in his descriptions of what he learns in each country he visits. If you don’t think you want to sit through a dude talking about food for several hours – you are so wrong. I promise.
Seriously: Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson is a book you don’t want to miss if you are into memoirs, food or travel. It is also not a book you want to experience any other way than on audio. Let Marcus Samuelsson tell you his story! You won’t regret it.
To Sum it Up:
- This guy has a fascinating life story – full to the brim of food, travel and family.
- The audio is brilliant – his voice is great, and the story is well organized and easy to follow.
- The story is inspirational as well. It is great to follow along with the successes AND failures he makes on his road to opening his restaurant in Harlem.