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Published Book Review - Make It Messy by Marcus Samuelsson

May 2, 2015

From School Library Journal


Gr 8 Up—Aspiring chefs and fans of the Food Network will appreciate learning about the incredible journey of celebrity chef Samuelsson from this new edition of his autobiography Yes, Chef (Random, 2012), adapted for a teen audience. Samuelsson's perfectly imperfect life began in Ethiopia. An orphan whose parents died of tuberculosis, Samuelsson and his sister were adopted by a couple living in Sweden, where they thrived under the warmth and protection of their new parents. The Samuelssons instilled in him a strong work ethic, while his beloved grandmother nurtured his interest in food and cuisine. Devastated by his failure as a soccer player due to his slight weight and stature, Samuelsson instead decided to train as a chef. His incomparable work ethic would help him rise to the highest echelons of European cuisine, while a chance opportunity would elevate him to become the youngest chef ever to receive three stars from the New York Times. This new edition is a delightful read, and Samuelsson effectively connects his love of food to his personal journey. He is a clear and thoughtful storyteller, conveying his frustration about how his race made him an outsider. His refusal to quit amid adversity is admirable. In adjusting his book for teenage readers, however, Samuelsson leaves out many compelling chapters about his life, including the experience of meeting his biological family in Ethiopia and winning the covetous award for the best chef in the United States. VERDICT While this is an enjoyable memoir, libraries would be better served by purchasing Yes, Chef. —Maria Paz Alegre, The Dalton School, New York. School Library Journal.

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