James Beard Award-winning Chef & Owner, Red Rooster
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NY Times Best-selling Author
At A Glance
Chef Marcus Samuelsson is an internationally acclaimed chef who has thrilled the food scene with a blend of culture and artistic excellence. Marcus caught the attention of the culinary world at Aquavit. During his tenure as executive chef, he received an… Read more
- Yes, Chef
“One of the great culinary stories of our time.”—Dwight Garner, The New York Times Marcus Samuelsson was only three years old when he, his mother, and his sister—all battling tuberculosis—walked seventy-five miles to a hospital in the Ethiopian capital city of Addis Adaba. Tragically, his mother succumbed to the disease shortly after she arrived, but Marcus and his sister recovered, and one year later they were welcomed into a loving middle-class white family in Göteborg, Sweden. It was there that Marcus’s new grandmother, Helga, sparked in him a lifelong passion for food and cooking with her pan-fried herring, her freshly baked bread, and her signature roast chicken. From a very early age, there was little question what Marcus was going to be when he grew up. In this inspiring speech, Samuelsson shares his remarkable journey from Helga’s humble kitchen to some of the most demanding and cutthroat restaurants in Switzerland and France, from his grueling stints on cruise ships to his arrival in New York City, where his outsize talent and ambition finally come together at Aquavit, earning him a coveted New York Times three-star rating at the age of twenty-four. But Samuelsson’s career of “chasing flavors,” as he calls it, had only just begun—in the intervening years, there have been White House state dinners, career crises, reality show triumphs and, most important, the opening of the beloved Red Rooster in Harlem. At Red Rooster, Samuelsson has fufilled his dream of creating a truly diverse, multiracial dining room—a place where presidents and prime ministers rub elbows with jazz musicians, aspiring artists, bus drivers, and nurses. It is a place where an orphan from Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, living in America, can feel at home. With disarming honesty and intimacy, Samuelsson also opens up about his failures—the price of ambition, in human terms—and recounts his emotional journey, as a grown man, to meet the father he never knew. The audience experiences a tale of personal discovery, unshakable determination, and the passionate, playful pursuit of flavors—one man’s struggle to find a place for himself in the kitchen, and in the world.
Chef Marcus Samuelsson is an internationally acclaimed chef who
has thrilled the food scene with a blend of culture and artistic
excellence. Marcus caught the attention of the culinary world at
Aquavit. During his tenure as executive chef, he received an
impressive three-star rating from the New York Times, the youngest
person ever to receive such an accolade.
In addition to being a successful cookbook author, Marcus released his New York Times Bestseller Yes, Chef in 2012 to rave reviews. He has been featured on a number of media platforms including Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, the Martha Stewart Show, Today Show, Regis and Kelly and Charlie Rose. He was the winner on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters Season Two and serves as a recurring judge for Chopped, one of Food Network’s highest rated series with a following of over 20 million viewers a month. Marcus was also named the winner of the second season of Chopped All-Stars.
In 2009, Marcus was honored as a guest chef at the White House under the Obama Administration, where he planned and executed the administration’s first state dinner for the first family, Prime Minister Singh of India and 400 of their guests. He has been a UNICEF ambassador since 2000, focusing his advocacy on water and sanitation issues, specifically the Tap Project. Marcus also had the honor of speaking at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and TEDxHarlem in 2012. In the fall of 2012, Marcus was also named to the US State Department’s The American Chef Corps, a group of chefs committed to Secretary State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s message of “smart power” diplomacy, which embraces the use of a full range of diplomatic tools, by utilizing food, hospitality and the dining experience as ways to enhance how formal diplomacy is conducted, cultivating cultural understanding and strengthening bilateral relationships through the shared experience of food.
His iconic Red Rooster Harlem celebrates the roots of American cuisine in one of New York City’s liveliest and culturally rich neighborhoods. It has earned two-stars from the New York Times and countless accolades for its food, style and connection to the community. Named the Best Neighborhood Joint by Time Out New York, Red Rooster continues to amaze Harlem with the opening of its downstairs supper club Ginny’s.
Marcus is also a co-founder of FoodRepublic.com – a website for men who want to eat and drink well, and to live smart.
How Chef Marcus Samuelsson Finds Calm in the Kitchen | Super Soul Sunday | Oprah Winfrey Network
CBS This Morning Saturday
Drop in to Red Rooster for dinner and a drink almost any night of the week, and you'll likely feel swept up in a sea of Harlem royalty — neighbors greet one another over cocktails and connect each other with new friends;… Read more
If you’re looking for a tasty and fun meal this week, head to Harlem.… Read more
Wow! You were utterly amazing. Added such depth and perspective. We can't thank you enough! Hope you'll join another at some point in the future.Crain’s New York Business
How WONDERFUL it was to have Marcus Samuelsson here--I loved every moment of his passage here--from the arrival to going to the Special Collections (I hope you will be able to return) to of course our moment on stage together, the joy and strength of Marcus' vision, the intelligence, seriousness and soul of his responses, the humor as well. I was most grateful.New York Public Library