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Convictions of a Chef: Cooking for the Counterculture and the One Percent by Evan Marcus-Rotman

A poignant, well-rendered, entertaining account of an ex-convict’s journey to success…

An ex-convict becomes a celebrated chef, against all the odds, in this astonishing narrative. Marcus-Rotman was only eight-years-old when his mother died, and he was sent to live with his indifferent father and stepmother. His older brothers were well on their way to becoming young men, and his mother’s family, with whom he was very close, was barred from keeping contact. Left to his own devices, he got into recreational drug use. By twenty-three, he was already a father of a five-year-old and still using drugs on a regular basis. On June 11, 1992, he was arrested on three counts of selling sixty grams of LSD, convicted, and sent to jail. The jail term forced him to think about his son and their future together. Once out of jail, he enrolled in a culinary course and joined the yachting industry as a chef. But that was just the beginning of his difficult journey. Aptly, Marcus-Rotman frames his story all around the world, from the United States, the Exumasa, a chain of islands south of Nassau, to India and further to Fiji, a setting that allows him to situate his personal story as part of a broader conversation about naive young people caught in senseless drug war and discrimination based on race, class, and appearance. Throughout, the author drops mouthwatering dishes names like Scallop ceviche with tequila and habanero, Smoked-duck gumbo with cannabis cornbread croutons, old Eastern European classics, such as Kasha Varnishkes and tongue with raisin sauce among others, and his storytelling is fluid, honest, and intimate. The memoir will feel familiar to people with various skin conditions, such as psoriasis, vitiligo, and leprosy, whose visible lesions not only force them to experience stigma in their daily lives but also leave adverse effects on their mental health and quality of life. It will also resonate with the section of the audience who strongly believe in therapeutic effects of psychedelic substances used in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. Readers on a similar path—ex-convicts who want to leave their past behind and begin afresh and the people who have survived the worst possible circumstances and are determined to come out winners—will find the book encouraging. The memoir ends on a high note as Marcus-Rotman started booking gigs on his new private chef website and met the lovely Marsea. Marcus-Rotman’s candor and his ability to let us in through his journey makes his book stand out from others with similar themes. A winner.

Convictions of a Chef

Cooking for the Counterculture and the One Percent 

Evan Marcus-Rotman

Buy now

Iguana Books

Pub date August 17, 2023

ISBN 978-1771806572

Price $21.99 (USD) Paperback, $8.99 Kindle edition

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