Tuesday, October 2, 2012

the last book I ever read (Marcus Samuelsson's Yes, Chef, excerpt five)

from Yes, Chef: A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson:

We all pressed on and then, boom, one day in late September we found out we were going to be reviewed by Ruth Reichl, the top critic for The New York Times. The night before, a few of us gathered in Håkan’s apartment to watch a local news channel that gave a preview of the review. The minute they announced that Reichl was giving us three stars, Håkan and the rest of my coworkers jumped out of their chairs and shouted. I would have been thrilled with two stars: Three was beyond anyone's expectations. There were toasts, there was back-slapping, there was some fist pumping. I was happy because they were happy, but the import of the review didn't sink in.

The day after the review came out happened to be one of our wine society dinners. The head of the society stood up to make his opening remarks, and after attending to the society's announcements, he brought up the review.

"When I met Marcus," he said, "I knew he would be the one. I knew when I picked this place for our dinners there was magic in the air."

I thought, This is great; let's all just get back to work. But the truth was that as soon as the review came out, it was magic. I had dreamed of success for so long. I'd left restaurant after restaurant, from Belle Avenue to Victoria to Georges, because I knew I could do better.

But the truth is that I had no idea what success would look like, feel like, taste like.

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