Notes from a Young Black Chef by Kwame Onwuachi

Notes from a Young Black Chef

A groundbreaking memoir about the intersection of race, fame, and food, from the Top Chef star and Forbes and Zagat 30 Under 30 honoreeBy the time he was twenty-seven, Kwame Onwuachi had competed on Top Chef, cooked at the White House, and opened and closed one of the most talked about restaurants in America. In this inspiring memoir, he shares the remarkable story of his culinary coming-of-age. Growing up in the Bronx and Nigeria (where he was s...

Details Notes from a Young Black Chef

TitleNotes from a Young Black Chef
Release DateApr 9th, 2019
PublisherKnopf Publishing Group
GenreAutobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Food and Drink, Food, Adult, Biography

Reviews Notes from a Young Black Chef

  • PorshaJo
    Rating 4.5I had no idea who Kwame Onwuachi is and had no knowledge of this book. While browsing my library for new audio books I came across this one. To be honest, I grabbed it just based on the title. It had the word 'chef' in it. I figured I could hear about the lifestyle of a chef and more importantly food. I'm a sucker for any foodie book. So I grabbed it and jumped in with no expectations.This one tells the life story of twenty-seven year o...
  • LeeTravelGoddess
    Am I biased?? MAYBE, but so what!!! We don’t get many black chef memoirs and I gobbled this up like I was a hungry bear! The story was wonderful, tantalizing, a filling course of the best foods and I tell you I still want more. It’s funny how I was reading two very different stories by two very different men named Kwame— 💚. This particular memoir is not your Normal “rags to riches” but rather a gathering of life’s lessons to become...
  • Yaaresse
    With the exception of Malala Yousafzai, who has lived more in 21 years than many people will live in a lifetime and has a Nobel Prize to prove it, I'm not sure anyone under 30 really has enough self-knowledge of life experience to write a memoir. (I realize the same could be said of many people over 30 who have written memoirs, too.) Onwuachi certainly knows how to market himself. He admits in the book that he puts on different personas for diffe...
  • Audrey
    This was an excellent food memoir. I admired Kwame when he was on Top Chef and thought his food looked and sounded amazing. I didn’t realize that his first restaurant closed soon after Top Chef aired. Kwame brings up a lot of relevant issues with race in the restaurant industry. While I think mistakes were made in the opening of his restaurant (pricing of the menu as well as not vetted partners), he raises valid points as to what people expect ...
  • Jaime
    Thanks AAKnopf for sharing NOTES FROM A YOUNG BLACK CHEF with me. memoirs have a special place in my book loving heart. This one is no different. It is Kwame's coming of age story, navigating life as a young black male in a predominantly white (and unwelcoming) industry, and his perseverance on never giving up on his dreams. It was well written, engaging and I loved the recipes at the end of each chapter.
  • Tina
    I've really been on a memoir kick this year- and #6 did not disappoint.NOTES FROM A YOUNG BLACK CHEF is Kwame Onwuachi's story about coming up in New York and coming into his career as a chef. He finished 6 on Top Chef and just closed his dream restaurant- all before the age of 30.He talks a lot about his upbringing and what it's like to be Black in America. There's a dash of behind the scenes at Top Chef thrown in, but what I loved the most was ...
  • Alysa H.
    I enjoyed this book very much. Kwame Onwuachi has a powerful and timely story to tell, and I was riveted by his experiences. In a way, all you need to know before you decide whether to read this book is right there in the title: he's young, he's black, and he's a chef.Young: Onwuachi has had a busier life than some people twice his age, but I admit to sometimes rolling my eyes when he expresses dismay at his own youthful exploits -- "Oh, I was so...
  • Jameil
    3.5 stars. The first half of the book is really strong. Kwame has honed telling his origin story and knows how to sell his success. He also names names in a very juicy way. I would love to hear how they feel about their portrayals in this book. I can also see plenty of people wondering about his mentions of race throughout. He attributes this to the nebulousness of racism that’s not attached to the n-word. It’s can be hard to pin down for out...
  • Katy
    Rounding up to 4 stars. I'm not entirely sure why I picked this one up since I'm neither a foodie nor knowledgeable about the culinary world / fine dining, but I ended up being interested by Onwuachi's journey even if I had to google a few food terms.
  • Katie/Doing Dewey
    Summary: This was a thoughtful memoir that tackled issues of racism head-on, but I wanted a little more depth."By the time he was twenty-seven, Kwame Onwuachi had competed on Top Chef, cooked at the White House, and opened and closed one of the most talked about restaurants in America." (source) These incredible accomplishments were in part possible due to the influence of his family. His mother inspired his love of cooking from a young age, pa...
  • Shannon
    Notes from a Young Black Chef I Picked Up This Book Because: #BlameItOnLitsyThis books starts with Kwame’s young life. The time he spent in the kitchen with his mother, his troubled relationship with his father, the time he spends in Nigeria with his grandfather. He also talks a lot about the projects that he didn’t live in but grew up in. His fall into drug life and his wake up call from that life as a young adult. While all of that is in...
  • Ryan
    More about an individual journey and less about how incredible food is. Don't get me wrong - food is incredible, but there are hundreds of writers who can tell me that.Kwame's road from childhood to here is singular - making his relationship to food along that road singular too.
  • Robin
    An inspirational story of someone who was determined to make it in the chef world. Perfect for those who liked Marcus Samuelsson's YES, CHEF.
  • Genevieve
    The parts about working on the oil rig during the cleanup of Deepwater Horizon gave me goosebumps - very moving. I admire his candor and his writing had great emotional resonance for me. Also I can't wait to try some of the recipes he included.
  • Natalie
    3.5, maybe a 4, would have been a 4 but the end just felt rushed and left me unsatisfied. i blew through this in a day, and while i found his story interesting and amazing, i really don't feel as if the writing ever reached me beyond a surface level retelling of his life's story. though i definitely appreciated the detail about his time until college, the rest of it seemed to be done in a hurry. while your childhood is arguably the most formative...
  • Phyllis
    Thanks to the Book Club Cookbook and publisher Alfred A. Knopf for a free copy of this book. @aaknopf#partner. My thoughts/opinions are my own. I’m a sucker for food-related memoirs, so was interested the minute I learned of this book about a Black (he doesn’t call himself African American) chef. I didn’t know about his prior experience on Top Chef, nor about his own restaurants, so his entire story was new to me. First, I want to note that...
  • Ann
    Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.This memoir is written during a really interesting period of the author's life: right after his first well-hyped restaurant closed. I read that he had already started the book before that happened so at first I wished this had included his eventual success with his current restaurant, but it's probably a more fascinating narrative to reject the redemption arc. This is especially true in light o...
  • Michelle
    I’m so thankful I opened that Penguin Random House email sharing their CEOs picks. This is the important coming of a age story of an eager chef who’s been through a lot. As if trying to be a professional chef isn’t hard enough in itself, Onwuachi had many other life obstacles to combat before the idea of being a chef was even a thought. Though frequently heartbreaking, I appreciated learning about his experience as a black man. With the coo...
  • Kalen
    Interesting, but. 29 strikes me as really young to write a memoir that names names in a relatively small industry where everyone knows each other and is so reliant on connections and who knows who. But, a memoir that doesn't name names probably doesn't get the media attention this one is getting. And on the upside, addressing racism in the industry is critical if it's ever going to change so hopefully Onwuachi's honesty helps propel the conversat...
  • David Wunderlich
    I listened to the audiobook, and I think that’s the way to go. The author holds nothing back, and hearing his inflection as he discusses his life added a lot to the mere words.The author’s life is not a boring one, and it has a wider range of experiences that most people will never know. It’s worth the read for that alone, but he has a varied perspective of being African American in the Bronx while also being tied to Africa through his fami...
  • Melinda Kramer
    Quick, entertaining read. Kwame’s memoir provides an honest, brash and passionate view of what motivated him past personal and economic struggles to achieve his goals in the predominantly white dining business. It’s inspiring to see how he has navigated the obstacles and fun to hear about the behind the scenes in some of the top restaurants in the country.
  • Mary Jo
    Who would have thought a 29 year-old chef would have enough material to write a memoir, but Onwuachi has a remarkable story already. His stories and food are amazing. The descriptions of kitchen culture from a black man’s eyes were enlightening and disheartening. I can’t imagine the harassment that women have endured that #metoo have started to reveal.
  • morgan
    (Follow @morganreadsalot on Instagram for more reviews)Thank you for the free book @aaknopfIn Notes From a Young Black Chef, Kwame Onwuachi shares his upbringing, and the story of his life so far with us through words, while also telling us about how he found his voice as a chef by telling his life story through his food. Chef Onwuachi is still young, but the life has already lived feels expansive. I’m no foodie, but I still found the glimpse i...
  • Jenny
    I had never heard of this chef and his amazing story but I am a sucker for these types of books. Loved it. Needs a sequel as I know he has found continued success. Some may find him arrogant but I found it honest.
  • Kristina
    Nice chef memoir. I came to this as I live in DC and I remember all the drama surrounding Shaw Bijou’s opening and closing. Nice to read more about the background from the chef’s point of view. And I’m looking forward to trying out his new restaurant in the city.
  • ReGina
    This book combines the challenges of being a black male, the pull of the streets, the color divide in the kitchen, and the importance (both good and bad) of family heritage. Kwame’s story is expected and unexpected, different yet familiar. However, to tell that story through food in a way that shocks and intrigues is really the hallmark of this book. Interesting read.
  • Kate
    As much as I enjoyed the book, I couldn’t get over the authors incredibly large ego. His own restaurant was based on his own story. It was all about how he got certain places seemingly just about alone. Clearly he did work hard to get where he was, but at the same time I sensed that he thinks extremely highly of himself
  • Smileitsjoy (JoyMelody)
    Kwame’s authenticity shines through in this memoir. It takes a lot of guts and strength to tell the whole truth even the ugly parts. I highly recommend this book. It truly is a must read. Through each chapter you’re informed of how race and class truly touched every part of his aspirations. This book is something i will revisit for sure.
  • Matt Shipman
    I've read quite a few food/cooking/chef memoirs over the years, and this is one of the best. It balances biographical details and discussions of cooking with insights and observations about food, the restaurant industry and U.S. society at large. Worth the investment of time for both foodies and those who are simply looking for an engaging read.