Marcus Samuelsson's memoir, Yes, Chef, is his tale of being orphaned in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden, and of the path he took through some of Europe's most cutthroat kitchens to become a celebrated New York chef and entrepreneur.
Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton (Random House, $16). Gabrielle tells her story with wit and charm, chronicling her journey from her mother's kitchen all the way to the one at her New York restaurant, Prune. So much of this book hit close to home for me. I have deep respect and admiration for this woman who fought to become the success she is, something that isn't easy to do for a woman in our industry.
White Heat by Marco Pierre White (Octopus, $22). The book every chef or food lover should own, especially for its amazing photos, which capture the all-too-real heated moments in the kitchen. I flip through Heat to remind myself why I love being a chef.
Frank by James Kaplan (Anchor, $19). Who doesn't love Sinatra? I'm a huge music fan and was intrigued to get a glimpse of the man behind this velvet voice. I love how Kaplan's book captures Sinatra's deeper, more intimate moments.
Harlem, U.S.A. by Dawoud Bey (Art Institute of Chicago, $25). Dawoud recently brought a copy of his book to me at my Harlem restaurant, Red Rooster. This look at the neighborhood in the '70s sums up why I love living here. Dawoud is the street photographer who captured the swagger of the people and life exactly as it was lived back then.
The Hamptons by Ricky Lauren (Wiley, $40). Like her husband, Ralph, Ricky knows how to capture the best of Americana. I love this book so much it's displayed on the shelf at the Rooster. Ricky's carefree love of entertaining shines through in this book, and her recipes are easy yet chic. Flipping through the photos, you want to leave your day behind and invite your friends over for a backyard BBQ. If only all of our backyards looked like the Laurens'.
The Dooky Chase Cookbook by Leah Chase (Pelican, $25). I can't mention my favorite books without adding this cookbook to the list. Leah is my idol and my mentor, and I've been fortunate to be able to cook for and with her a few times. The Queen of Creole Cuisine still has the spirit of a woman who has run the kitchen at New Orleans's Dooky Chase for over 50 years. I love Leah and her cookbook is a keeper.
— Marcus Samuelsson's memoir, Yes, Chef, is his tale of being orphaned in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden, and of the path he took through some of Europe's most cutthroat kitchens to become a celebrated New York chef and entrepreneur
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