When the Ethiopian-born Marcus Samuelsson came to the US from Sweden in 1991, the plan was to intern at Aquavit and return to Europe to cook. He did continue cooking in France, but in 1994 was drawn back to New York City to fill Aquavit’s sous chef position. One year later, he was appointed executive chef and the same year became the youngest chef to ever earn three stars from the New York Times. Now in 2009, Samuelsson has become one of the most heralded chefs in the US, earning critical acclaim for his work at Aquavit, and now Riingo, AQ Kafé, and C-House.
Samuelsson has continually revolutionized Aquavit’s menu, crafting innovative interpretations of classic Scandinavian cuisine that marry the traditional with the contemporary. After publishing two seminal cookbooks (plus another in Swedish), Aquavit And the New Scandinavian Cuisine and The Soul of a New Cuisine, he now turns to his adopted country and professional proving ground with 300 recipes in New American Table. The recipes combine the chef’s signature treatment of flavors and textures using the culinary treasures from around the country that have inspired him.
In anticipation of his new cookbook,StarChefs.com Managing Editor Will Blunt sat down with Samuelsson at August Restaurant in New York City to discuss his journey—from his first day at Aquavit to the publication of the book, and how New American Table captures Samuelsson’s vision of American cuisine.
Video: Marcus Samuelsson, an Interview with Will Blunt