Book Club: “Yes, Chef” by Marcus Samuelsson

Gossip optional, drinking recommended.

by Sarah Harper

This week, we’re reading the mouth-watering “Yes, Chef” by Marcus Samuelsson. While Samuelsson is well known for winning “Top Chef Masters,” he’s led such a rich life that his Bravo triumphs feel like small potatoes.

The Ethiopian-born, Swedish-raised, Harlem-dwelling chef became the youngest person to ever receive two three-star restaurant ratings from the New York Times. In December 2010, he opened the Red Rooster in Harlem, a place dedicated to community, fine ingredients and the diversity of the American culinary tradition — the menu features coconut rice and curry peas alongside fried yard bird and sweet potato doughnuts.

Samuelsson’s memoir is as delicious as his cuisine: It’s a humble, rich story of a life well-lived. Samuelsson describes food on every other page, and he writes about it with such love and knowledge that you’ll want to drop out and sign up for culinary school by the time you reach the end of it.

Samuelsson was in town on Tuesday, July 24 to give cooking lessons and read from “Yes, Chef.” No worries if you missed it — Samuelsson’s book speaks volumes on its own.


“Yes, Chef” pairs well with: The Lingonberry Cosmopolitan (21+)


What’s more Swedish than the lingonberry? Samuelsson learned to love cooking via his Swedish grandmother, so it seems natural that he’d favor quintessentially Swedish ingredients.

We learned this recipe by going to Marcus Samuelsson’s website, which has an incredible array of recipes.

We discovered that Ikea is one of the only places in town that sells lingonberry juice, and it’s in concentrated form. It’s worth making the trip out to Bloomington for this fresh, sophisticated cocktail. Here’s how you can make the lingonberry cosmo:




2 ounces vodka

2 ounces lingonberry juice

1 ounces triple sec

1 ounces lime juice


 Shake up all ingredients and serve chilled, strained into a martini glass.