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 family in Göteborg, Sweden. It was there that his new grandmother Helga sparked in him a lifelong passion for food and cooking with her pan-fried herring, her freshly baked bread, and signature roast chicken. From that stage of his early life, there was little question what Marcus was going to become when he grew up.
Yes, Chef chronicles Marcus Samuelsson’s remarkable journey from Helga’s humble kitchen to some of his experiences at the most demanding and competitive restaurants in Switzerland and France, from his grueling stints on cruise ships to his arrival in New York City, where his unique talent and ambition finally come together at the Swedish restaurant 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 fulfilled 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.
MARCUS SAMUELSSON is an internationally acclaimed chef, philanthropist, and a New York Times best-selling author.
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