Specialty Food Magazine

JUL-AUG 2013

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/139333

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Page 215 of 217

Q&A Global Cuisine, Global Influence BY DENISE SHOUKAS A n award-winning chef, restaurateur, author, philanthropist and food activist, Marcus Samuelsson made a name for himself in 1995 as the youngest chef to earn a three-star rating from The New York Times just three months after he took the executive chef post at Aquavit at the age of 23. Four years later, the James Beard Foundation crowned him as the industry's rising star, and in 2003 as the best chef in New York. Samuelsson has cooked at the White House, won myriad awards and graced TV screens on "Iron Chef" and "Top Chef Masters," as well as penned the New York Times best-selling memoir, Yes, Chef, and other cookbooks. Most recently, he's created a new tea line highlighting the flavors of Ethiopia and opened Uptown Brasserie and Street Food, a restaurant at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. All the while, his commitment to community is paramount, both locally in Harlem, where he lives and runs Red Rooster Harlem, and globally through his work with UNICEF. Here, Samuelsson shares his approach to business and the impetus for his ambition. You discuss in your memoir how your grandmother Helga was the central figure who inspired your love of cooking. Does what she taught you still influence you today? It was mostly her approach to cooking—that you have to use everything. And it was an approach I was taught from early on and something that I still use to this day—how to take care of fish, how to make meatballs—that's why we have meatballs in our restaurants. She also taught me that the simplest ingredients make great meals. Describe your culinary philosophy. First of all, I'm going to cook with the narrative of my life. Coming from Africa, being raised in Sweden and obviously also the fact that I was trained in France, I always try to cook with those three points of view. But also the fact that I live in Harlem, my cooking will always be European- PHOTO: SAMUELSSON GROUP When you're around great people, especially great chefs, you want to do what they're doing. And I was lucky enough at an early age to be around very, very good chefs. JULY/AUGUST 2013 199

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