Notes from a Young Black Chef

Delacorte. Apr. 2021. 272p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593176009.
Gr 7 Up–Onwuachi, a former Top Chef contestant and renowned American chef who was born on Long Island, NY, bares his heart in this YA adaptation of his 2019 memoir. He details the struggles, inspirations, and choices from the past that led to the present. The work speaks with conviction, introspection, and frankness, which is an appealing combination for young adult readers. The text doesn’t seek to impress the audience, but rather aims to teach and speak the author’s truth. From the ordinary to the inspired, moments from Onwuachi’s childhood to young adulthood play out like recorded videos, revealing the people, dishes, and conversations swirling in his memory. These memories include snapshots of his family to experiences of racial discrimination to cultural judgments in the culinary world, which are portrayed with a sincere purpose and reflect his reality as a young Black chef. His personal and professional journey showcases a heartfelt desire to create and connect.
VERDICT Onwuachi candidly declares how the weight of the trials he experienced impacted his story and fortified his culinary dreams, with an intensive reflection of family roots, aspirations, and expectations.

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