Yes, Chef!

It isn't every day that I get an email from the lovely people over at Kitchn Table inviting me to a "secret lunch" to thank me for being a part of one of their pop-up ventures. And to top that, the esteemed Marcus Sameulsson (currently #26 on the New York Times Best Seller list for his new book Yes, Chef) would be there for a "meet and greet" and discussion of his book. What? Is this my life? I'm there.

Caroline was good enough to accompany me yet again. If you remember, she was my guest at Barrio. We sampled some of Chef Wheeler del Torro's light lunch offerings and then were sheparded toward a seating area lined with copies of Chef Samuelsson's book.

Chef Wheeler del Torro's watermelon and gorgonzola salad with mint.

Curried "chicken" salad tacos with green apple, mac n' cheese, and collards.

If you haven't heard of Marcus Sameulsson, think back to the second season of Top Chef Masters. This was the first time I was privy to the sight of him, so perhaps it is the same for you. He won the whole darn thing! 

But he certainly was making a name for himself long before then. He was the youngest person ever to receive a 3 star restaurant review from the New York Times while he was the head chef at Aquavit (he was 24 at the time!), he married the famous (and gorgeous) model Maya Haile, and most recently (in 2010) he opened the acclaimed Red Rooster restaurant in Harlem. He is a big deal.

His book Yes, Chef details his life (and subsequent culinary journey) from his time in Ethiopia where he was born, to Sweden where he grew up with his adoptive family, to the United States where he has planted roots and dominated the culinary scene in New York City- arguably the hardest place to "make it" as a chef.

The source of the book's title is simple but profound. Saying the words "Yes, Chef" for the first time was a symbolic milestone for Chef Samuelsson. Hearing the same words said to him later in his journey was equally affective. It marked his place, his purpose, his station. Discovery and identity were imperative to his, and he may argue anyone, becoming a chef. Know yourself: your purpose, strengths and struggles in order to tap your full potential and creativity.

We received complimentary signed copies of Yes, Chef at the conclusion of the talk, and I am beyond excited to read it.  Chef Samuelsson, if nothing else, is an original. Everything he shared was sincere and inspirational. His musings could apply to any person in any walk of life, but they come from a place of personal experience and genuine interest in self discovery.

So, feeling rejuvenated and newly ready for life's twists and turns, I would like to again thank Kitchn Table, 3 Scoops Ice Cream Cafe, and Marcus Samuelsson for a wonderful lunch! It was a pleasure to attend and an honor to be invited. And I look forward to filling you all in after I've finished reading what I am sure will be a fabulous book!

The final course. Peanut butter ice cream truffles (vegan!)