Friday, October 12, 2012

{Book Review} Yes, Chef: A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson

So I've decided that I need to share my book reviews with the world, because frankly, I think Mr. Officer is sick of hearing me yammer on about whatever random book I happen to be reading. As a disclaimer, it should be noted that my method for picking books is kind of hit or miss. Basically I just use, and search for available books with three or more stars.  Speaking of which, sidebar,  OMG borrowing ebooks from the library has been completely life (and pocketbook) changing.

Okay, I'm back from my sidebar now, and really excited to bring you my very first book review blog post - Yes, Chef: A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson. I had high expectations for this one, because it had five stars on live-library. I've also seen Marcus Samuelsson on the Food Network a few times, and I was intrigued by his life story.

By way of background, Marcus Samuelsson was born Kassahun Tsegie in Ethiopia. He just barely made it to the hospital in Addis Ababa with his mother and sister before his mother succumbed to tuberculosis. After the tragedy of losing their biological mother, Kassahun and his sister were adopted by a Swedish couple and moved to Gothenburg, Sweden (where his name was changed to Marcus Sameulsson). Through hardwork and discipline, he went on to become a highly successful, international, superstar chef.

Sounds intriguing, right? Unfortunately, I didn't feel that the book really delivered, and I was kind of disappointed on the whole. It read kind of like an extended PR bio, and I felt like the entire book was transparently trying to sell me on how awesome and hardworking Marcus Samuelsson is as a chef.

That brings me to my next gripe about this book.......I just didn't find Marcus Samuelsson to be overly likable as a character. It's clear that he is extremely driven, and ambitious, but that blind ambition kind of rubbed me the wrong way. There was not even a hint of humor or lightness in his commentary, and I feel like he's not the kind of guy that I would want to hang out with on a Friday night. Now I realize that shouldn't factor into my book review, but if I'm going to read a few hundred pages about the guy, it helps if I'm actually pulling for him!

On the plus side, it is kind of fun to share in his accomplishments through the years, and there's a lot to learn from his self-made success. I also enjoyed the sporadic cooking tips, and the behind-the-curtain look at the world of professional chefs. On the whole, I give it 3.5 stars out of 5. Not terrible, but definitely not worth the five star hype!

So, did you read this book? What was your opinion? Leave me a comment and let me know if you agree or disagree with my assessment!

P.S. - if you want to read along with me for next time, I am currently reading The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson.

1 comment:

  1. i've seen him on the food channel many times and he is my least favourite 'celebrity' chef...too much attitude....given his background, i'd expect some 'humble' quality....not so......and therefore, your review gets 5 stars!