Chef Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster Harlem - Biography

New York, NY

August 2014

Marcus Samuelsson was born into an eclectic culinary existence. Born in Ethiopia, he grew up cooking alongside his Swedish grandmother, a professional chef. After graduating from the Culinary Institute in Gothenburg, Samuelsson apprenticed in Switzerland, Austria, and France before finally coming to the United States—bringing an already well-traveled palate with him.

In 1995, he was hired as the executive chef at New York’s Aquavit, earning three stars from The New York Times in just three months. Four years later, he was James Beard’s “Rising Star Chef” Award, and in 2003 “Best Chef, New York City.” As plaudits came in, Samuelsson evolved from the wunderkind of Scandinavian cuisine (at a time when Nordic didn’t carry nearly as much weight) to exploring his roots. Again, his work didn’t go unrecognized. The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa received a James Beard Award for “Best International Cookbook” in 2007.

Since then, a prolific Samuelsson has rocketed to the forefront of national and international culinary scene. He co-founded Townhouse Restaurant Group and wrote Aquavit and the New Scandinavian Cuisine, En Smakresa med Marcus Samuelsson, New American Table, and his memoir Yes, Chef. And he’s appeared on both “Top Chef” and as a regular judge on “Chopped.” Most recently, he founded and tackled eclectic American roots cuisine with Red Rooster in Harlem, with sister speakeasy Ginny’s Supper Club. Samuelsson is an ambassador for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and serves on the board of directors of Careers through Culinary Arts Program and