Notes from a Young Black Chef: A Memoir

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Anyone who has read and enjoyed the classic Kitchen Confidential by the late Anthony Bourdain may also enjoy Kwame Onwuachi’s memoir, Notes From A Young Black Chef. Like Bourdain, Onwuachi is an interesting mix of confidence and uncertainty. While struggling with numerous aspects of working in the restaurant industry, Onwuachi can come off as bombastic and arrogant, like when he writes that “my arrival (in the District of Columbia) was greeted with a lot of excitement and anticipation.” Perhaps so, but it did not result in enough customers visiting Shaw Bijou, Onwuachi’s signature restaurant, for it to remain in business.

The key reason Shaw Bijou failed likely goes to the base cover charge with an admission ticket of $185 per person, not including tip and drinks. The flaw in this account by a talented young chef is that he attributes most of his stumbles and unforced errors to racism, even when the reader sees other factors in play. Still, Onwuachi has gone on to earn the title of “The most important chef in America” from the San Francisco Chronicle. You will need to read the sometimes surreal Notes – an entertaining, imperfect story – to find out why.

Reviewed By:

Author Kwame Onwuachi • Joshua David Stein
Star Count 3.5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 288 pages
Publisher Knopf
Publish Date 2019-04-09
ISBN 9781524732622 Buy this Book
Issue June 2019
Category Biographies & Memoirs


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