My journey as a chef can be traced in ways that not only pays homage to the food I eat but by the people who introduced me to a diverse world of flavors that I use in my recipes today. There was Helga, my grandmother, who shaped my resourcefulness and core cooking values. Then there were the tough yet brilliant chefs who knocked me around at Victoria Jungrau in Switzerland. I had a long-lasting love affair with the flavors from Japan and the hustling New York street vendors. And of course a life-changing return to Ethiopia has made huge impacts on my life in food.
My memoir shares all of this, and what would a chef's personal memoir be without plenty of recipes to accompany it? These easy-to-make dishes, inspired by my love for chasing flavors around the globe represent the different locations of where I've lived and worked--fish tostadas will take you to my hometown by the sea while the berbere that peppers my "Yes, Chef" cocktail brings back the spices of Ethiopia. Though I was trained to see fancy French food as the best of what cuisine could bring (and without a doubt it is delicious) I have found that passionate, well-prepared food can be found just as easily on the streets of Harlem as it can in a five-star restaurant in Paris.
Made to be completely adaptable, I encourage you to put your own culinary spin on these dishes. No fresh tuna? Substitute Pacific salmon or tilapia to top the tostadas. If you snag juicy oranges from your local farmer's market use the rinds instead of beets for a candied topping to pair with my molten lava cake. Alter these dishes to fit your local palette or favorite cuisines and share your new creations with me @MarcusCooks
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