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By the time he was twenty-seven years old, Kwame Onwuachi had opened—and closed—one of the most talked about restaurants in America. He had sold drugs in New York and been shipped off to rural Nigeria to “learn respect.” He had launched his own catering company with twenty thousand dollars made from selling candy on the subway and starred on Top Chef. Through it all, Onwuachi’s love of food and cooking remained a constant, even when, as a young chef, he was forced to grapple with just how unwelcoming the food world can be for people of color. In this inspirational memoir about the intersection of race, fame, and food, he shares the remarkable story of his culinary coming-of-age; a powerful, heartfelt, and shockingly honest account of chasing your dreams—even when they don’t turn out as you expected.
Kwame Onwuachi is the James Beard Award-winning executive chef at Kith/Kin in Washington, D.C. He was born on Long Island and raised in New York City, Nigeria, and Louisiana. Onwuachi was first exposed to cooking by his mother, in the family’s modest Bronx apartment, and he took that spark of passion and turned it into a career. From toiling in the bowels of oil cleanup ships to working at some of the best restaurants in the world, he has seen and lived his fair share of diversity. Onwuachi trained at the Culinary Institute of America and opened five restaurants before turning thirty. A former Top Chef contestant, he has been named Esquire’s Chef of the Year, one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs, and a 30 Under 30 honoree by both Zagat and Forbes.
Joshua David Stein is a Brooklyn-based author and journalist. He is the co-author of Food & Beer, the U.S. editor of Where Chefs Eat, the author of forthcoming To Me He Was Just Dad as well as the children’s books, Can I Eat That?, What’s Cooking?, Brick: Who Found Herself in Architecture and The Ball Book. Stein was previously the restaurant critic for the New York Observer and the Village Voice. He is the founding member of The Band Books and the food zine, Reduced Circumstance.