I loved Notes From a Young Black Chef, Kwame Onwuachi's memoir.
For such a young man, there is quite a lot of experiences packed into this book,
as he is hardworking, ambitious, and talented. If you're a foodie (I am not) or love
memoirs (I do!) this is an excellent read. Recipes included. Very impressive! Recommended By Adrienne C., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
“Kwame Onwuachi’s story shines a light on food and culture not just in American restaurants or African American communities but around the world.” — Questlove
By the time he was 27 years old, Kwame Onwuachi had opened — and closed — one of the most talked about restaurants in America. He had launched his own catering company with $20,000 that he made from selling candy on the subway, yet he’d been told he would never make it on television because his cooking wasn’t “Southern” enough. In this inspiring memoir about the intersection of race, fame, and food, he shares the remarkable story of his culinary coming-of-age.
Growing up in the Bronx, as a boy Onwuachi was sent to rural Nigeria by his mother to “learn respect.” However, the hard-won knowledge gained in Africa was not enough to keep him from the temptation and easy money of the streets when he returned home. But through food, he broke out of a dangerous downward spiral, embarking on a new beginning at the bottom of the culinary food chain as a chef on board a Deepwater Horizon cleanup ship, before going on to train in the kitchens of some of the most acclaimed restaurants in the country and appearing as a contestant on Top Chef.
Onwuachi’s love of food and cooking remained a constant throughout, even when he found the road to success riddled with potholes. As a young chef, he was forced to grapple with just how unwelcoming the world of fine dining can be for people of color, and his first restaurant, the culmination of years of planning, shuttered just months after opening. A powerful, heartfelt, and shockingly honest story of chasing your dreams — even when they don’t turn out as you expected — Notes From a Young Black Chef is one man’s pursuit of his passions, despite the odds.
“A young black chef’s raw and gritty tale of survival, ingenuity, and hustling. Kwame takes us on this journey where he eventually finds himself captivated by the culinary world of fine dining. A fast-paced page turner with inspirational recipes at the end of each chapter.” Carla Hall, author of Carla Hall’s Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration
“Kwame Onwuachi has given us something to crave. A culinary autobiography sitting at the crossroads of West Africa, the American South, and the Caribbean and beyond mixed with his journey to find himself and the flavors that make him unique. This is the future of Black food writing and a new chapter in the saga of how chefs come of age.” Michael W. Twitty, author of The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South
“Onwuachi’s memoir should be required reading, not just for future chefs, but for anyone who wants a glimpse into one man’s tale of what it’s like to be young, black and ambitious in America.” The Washington Post
“This is an astonishing and open-hearted story from one of the next generation’s stars of the culinary world. I am so excited to see what the future holds for Chef Kwame — he is a phoenix, rising into better and better things and showing us all what it means to be humble, hungry, and daring.” José Andrés
About the Author
Kwame Onwuachi is the executive chef at Kith and Kin and owner of the Philly Wing Fry franchise in Washington, DC. He was born on Long Island and raised in New York City, Nigeria, and Louisiana. Onwuachi was first exposed to cooking by his mother, in the family’s modest Bronx apartment, and he took that spark of passion and turned it into a career. From toiling in the bowels of oil cleanup ships to working at some of the best restaurants in the world, he has seen and lived his fair share of diversity. Onwuachi trained at the Culinary Institute of America and has opened five restaurants before turning thirty. A former Top Chef contestant, he has been named a 30 Under 30 honoree by both Zagat and Forbes.
Kwame Onwuachi on PowellsBooks.Blog
Eight years ago I was standing on the subway in New York City, leaning on a pole, with eight different boxes of candy taped together, trying to sell it to anyone who would hear me out. If you would have told me that I would have written a book, opened four restaurants, and appeared on national television by now, I would have called you crazy...