Notes From A Young Black Chef

Notes From A Young Black Chef

A Memoir

Book - 2019
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"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 twenty-seven years old, Kwame Onwuachi (winner of the 2019 James Beard Foundation Award for Rising Star Chef of the Year) had opened--and closed--one of the most talked about restaurants in America. He had launched his own catering company with twenty thousand dollars 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.

"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
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2019
Edition: First Edition
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9781524732622
Characteristics: 271 pages ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Stein, Joshua David - Author


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Dec 27, 2019

The story of Kwame Onwuachi's life starts out as a cliche: poor kid from the bad, dangerous Bronx with an abusive father, and a mother who struggled to keep the family together and to give him every advantage she could. When at a young age Kwame got mixed up with the wrong crowd and his rebellion became more than his mother could handle, she sent him to Africa to stay with his grandfather and learn some respect. After two years he was back in the Bronx, hustling drugs, seemingly fated to go down a predestined path. But Kwame was a fighter: he wanted more. The warmth and safety of the kitchen had always inspired him, and eventually he found his way to the Culinary Institute of America, working his way up through racial prejudice and other setbacks, working to become a highly skilled, creative gourmet chef. An inspiring, fascinating story.


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