ChefCommunityFood for ThoughtFood PoliticsNews

From a Chef’s Perspective: Marcus in Conversation with Tom Colicchio and Andrea Reusing at the New York Times’ Food for Tomorrow Conference

By Raquel Jacquez | October 22, 2015

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This week, chefs, activists, policymakers, farmers and journalists convened for the New York Times’ Food for Tomorrow Conference at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.

In a conversation facilitated by Sam Sifton (New York Times food editor), with Tom Colicchio (Craft Restaurants and Co-Founder of Food Policy Action) and Andrea Reusing (Lantern and The Durham), Marcus discussed the divide between what comes out of urban America and what is in and of urban America, particularly when we think about food as an expression of art, culture and history.

Marcus first began thinking about this because he wanted to find purpose in being a chef in Harlem – a community where there is a huge divide between the pleasures of good food and access to a dining experience that celebrates the community’s art, history and culture. From the beginning, Marcus says, he was thinking about these dynamics when he opened Red Rooster.

As a result of the industrialized and modern food system, the working poor have gained the convenience of cheap food, but it has come with a price. Marcus believes that we have traded the convenience of cheap food for the basic skills of cooking and preparing foods. In other words, we now have an entire generation of people lacking the knowledge and skills needed to prepare food for themselves and are, instead, stuck in a food system that has removed agency by marketing cheap food that is conveniently making us sick. Whether or not this trade-off was an intentional decision we made, is not the point. The point is that we are facing major consequences as a result of the design of our food system and we have to begin to think about how to combat the challenges together, as a community. Tom Colicchio agreed with Marcus and added, “We need to educate a population. We are a generation removed from actually having any skills at all in the kitchen and knowing where food comes from.”

While we need radically different policies in our food system in order to create access to healthy foods for the working poor, there are significant solutions that we can implement in our own neighborhoods to change the way people are thinking about food. “My food memories growing up, aside from my family, come from the lunches that I had at school where I really actually started to develop a real sense of flavor because it was real food – not what we have right now,” says Marcus. Imagine if, as Marcus suggests, the lunchroom actually resembled the complexity of flavors in America’s diverse population and we were serving children real food while simultaneously educating them about how to prepare it.

“The beauty of America,” as Marcus points out, “is that we are so complex and so different. We are one of the few countries in the world that don’t have one food identity. That is the beauty and also the complexity.” By intentionally evoking interest in flavor and ingredients, we could potentially have a fully engaged population who is intrigued by real food and has baseline knowledge about the food system. A generation that can cook will raise the awareness that we need in order to prioritize what is important for the environment, our communities and ourselves.

You can view all of the videos from the New York Times’ Food for Tomorrow Conference here.

EventsGinny's Superclub

Halloween at Red Rooster and Ginny’s Supper Club

By Jenn Burka | October 19, 2015

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Halloween is one of our favorite events over at the Roo and Ginny’s Supper Club, and this year we have events for everyone.

For those with children, join us at “Boo at the Roo,” a fun day of games, prizes, a maze, and of course candy at Red Rooster.

Once the kids are tucked away, the freaks come out to play! At night, we have three fun events, which we hope to see you at. At 7:30pm, we have an extra spooky supper club at Ginny’s. ELEW will be performing live while we show a silent horror film in the background. At 9:30, we will transition Ginny’s into our Freaks Come Out at Night Halloween Party with headliners DJ Evil Dee & Mr. Walt of Da Beatminerz. Both events are $15 and tickets can be bought here. We’ll also be having a costume contest with great prizes.

If you prefer old school hip hop, you can head upstairs to Red Rooster for DJ Kool Herc’s Hip Hop Halloween. Entry is free, and we’ll be there dancing the night away until close.

We hope to see you there!

Boo At the Roo
Red Rooster
October 31st 11am-2pm
Free Admission

Hip Hop Halloween
Red Rooster
October 31st 9:30pm
Free Admission
21+

Halloween Supper Club
Ginny’s Supper Club
October 31st 7:30pm
$15 | Tickets here
21+

Freaks Come Out at Night Halloween Party
Ginny’s Supper Club
October 31st 9:30pm
$15 | Tickets here
21+

 

EventsGinny's SuperclubTravel

Advanced Screening of Parts Unknown: Ethiopia

By Marcus Samuelsson | October 14, 2015

Parts Unknown Ethiopia

Parts Unknown Ethiopia

I am thrilled at the opportunity that CNN, Food Republic, and Tadias Magazine have given me to highlight the behind the scenes moments of Anthony Bourdain’s episode of “Parts Unknown” featuring Ethiopia on Monday, October 19th at 7pm at Ginny’s Supper Club. The episode we filmed will air on CNN on October 25th, but this advanced screening on Monday will allow you all to join Maya and me in an informal setting as we watch the episode and engage in discussion following.

I’ve been a fan of Parts Unknown since it aired in 2013. I loved having the opportunity to show my good friend Tony around Ethiopia, trying to reveal some of the unknown areas both to him and his many viewers. It was rewarding to realize have far I have come in my explorations of my native country (and how much I still have to discover). My wife Maya and I had a blast bringing Tony to Addis Adaba, which is the capital city of Ethiopa and often considered to be the political capital of all of Africa. We made sure that Tony got to sample a large mix of food, sounds, and sights in this busy metropolis. We also brought Tony to Maya’s family in the Gurage region to experience the somewhat more modest life in an Ethiopian village (although the village feast we were served hardly seems like it could be labeled as “modest”).

I’m looking forward to sharing more about the making of this episode at the event at Ginny’s on Monday. We will also be featuring some specialty cocktails and Ethiopian-focused small plates to bring some of the smells and tastes from the episode to you as well.

I hope to see you there!

 

Advanced Screening of Parts Unknown: Ethiopia 
Ginny’s Supper Club
October 19th @ 7:00PM
$25 | Tickets here
This event is 21+

CommunityFood for ThoughtFood PoliticsNews

Clinton Global Initiative – Call to Action

By Raquel Jacquez | October 8, 2015

theywereverypoor

During last month’s Clinton Global Initiative, Marcus joined a panel of experts to discuss the role of food and nutrition in global poverty and specifically, how chefs might be catalysts for change.

Poverty in America, as Marcus puts it, affects people differently than it does in his home country of Ethiopia. In America, we have extreme wealth that disconnects us from our food because cooking with real ingredients is expensive and perceived as inefficient in our busy lives. However, if we take the time to learn how to cook, he argues, everyone in the community will benefit. Further, Marcus challenges the audience to cook and eat based on a spiritual compass – meaning, eat things that relate to your own personal history and values. When we eat foods that are whole and seasonal, reusing ingredients throughout the week in order to avoid wasting food and overspending, we are satisfying our palate as well as our spiritual compass.

The strength in Marcus’ approach is his understanding that in order to be successful, we all need the tools to create lasting change in our own lives. Part of the reason that Marcus opened Red Rooster in Harlem was to not just change the restaurant footprint in the neighborhood, but to also highlight the complexities of poverty and malnutrition that exist in his own community. Watch Marcus discuss these issues in the video below or watch more videos from the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative here.

CommunityFood PoliticsFood StoriesLinkedIn

Can You Spend Less Money on Food and Improve Global Poverty? I Think So. And Here’s How to Do It.

By Marcus Samuelsson | October 6, 2015

Marcus Samuelsson discusses hunger, cooking and obesity in the U.S.

Poverty in America looks very different from poverty in other parts of the world. While being poor in my home nation of Ethiopia means not having access to water but eating incredibly delicious and healthy foods everyday, being poor in the United States can mean clean water but not necessarily nutritious things to eat. Poverty is a problem that affects all parts of the globe, so it can be hard to visualize what you can do here at home to.

As a chef running a busy kitchen, I’ve learned a lot about about saving, planning and projecting and I truly believe that making even a small change to an individual’s daily routine can make an impact on a larger scale. The mentality in American culture is often “the bigger the better,” but we are all smart enough to know that’s not exactly the case. Just like at a restaurant, planning out your meals in advance means you are only buying exactly what you need and not spending in excess. Saving room in the plan for leftovers means wasting less and that planning will become easier as “needs” adjust away from “wants.”

You’ll be saving money, but how does this affect the global idea of poverty? Simple economics tells us that demand is directly related to price. When demand drops because more people are buying only what they need, the price drops making commodities more affordable for everyone, especially those who have smaller budgets and income. While it may seem like a far-fetched solution, a more global consciousness of need versus want could have big implications.

Another way that I, as a chef, have thought about this issue in regard to food has been through education. After the financial crisis of 2008, many Americans were facing financial insecurity, especially in neighborhoods like mine. Unemployment in Harlem was more than twice the national average and in a neighborhood where amenities are already scarce this meant different kinds of sacrifices were made, especially when it came to nutrition. American families in general began spending less of their incomes on food and the category that took the biggest hit: fresh produce. People instead began turning more and more to quick and cheap calories at fast food places, where a few dollars can buy you fries, a burger and a soda. While shopping and cooking does take more time than drive-thru, a commitment to healthy eating can be delicious and cost-effective.

I’ve been doing cooking classes in Harlem since Red Rooster opened in 2010 and it has been an indescribable experience showing kids from the YMCA or a local charter school that vegetables don’t have to be soggy and over-steamed but delicious! They’ve learned about food they’ve never had before that can pack in protein and nutrients and still taste good, including alternative grains like teff, quinoa and couscous. I believe you can eat wonderful meals and feel satisfied after eating less when you infuse rich flavors into your cooking. Simply put, nourishing foods can be budget friendly – and chefs share the responsibility of broadcasting that message!

Let’s not forget that healthy eating leads to a healthier society overall, which means a cheaper cost of living for everyone! Our country is in the midst of a cataclysmic health crisis, much of it caused by how we eat. More than one-third of American adults are currently obese (another one-third are overweight), and according to the CDC, the prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents has almost tripled since 1980. It becomes an even more alarming number when you read that obesity is already causing $150 billion annually in medical costs. Imagine where that money could be spent if we reduced American obesity rates by even half! There would be more funding for programs that helped feed the homeless, educate the underserved and increase the employability of those in poverty through job training.

This article was originally posted as part of LinkedIN’s Take Action series in which Influencers and members discuss how to drive change that matters. Read the original post here.

CCAP

C-CAP Announcement

By Ashley Bode | October 2, 2015

Marcus with Richard Grausman and Mark Weiss

As of yesterday, I am so excited (and proud) to announce that, along with Mark Weiss, Chief Investment Officer of RFR Holdings, I have been named the Co-Chairman of C-CAP,Careers through Culinary Arts Program. Read More

CommunityHarlemThe Roo

Harlem Helps: A Benefit for the Families of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC

By Marcus Samuelsson | July 8, 2015

Charleston Benefit

Chalreston Benefit

On Wednesday, July 15, the Red Rooster team and I will be hosting a benefit in honor of the families of Mother Emanuel AME church in Charleston, SC. There come together as a community over food, drink and music that is inspired by the people of South Carolina. The event features a both lunch buffet and a 3-course seated dinner, for $30 and $75 minimum donation respectively. . Tickets and more information about the event is available here.  Below are both lunch* and dinner** menus. I hope to see you there.

 

*Lunch Menu:

-“City” Captain – Dark Meat Chicken, Tomato Curry, Buttered Charleston Gold Rice
-Catfish and Grits, Green Tomato Chow chow
-Low Country Pork Shoulder with Cheerwine Cider BBQ Sauce

Sides:
-Collard Greens
-Mac and Greens
-Edamame Succatash
-Watermelon and pickled tomato salad
-Mustard Potato Salad

Dessert:
-Groundnut Sandwich Cookie (filled with chocolate)
-Citrus Buttermilk Pie
-Hummingbird Cake

**Dinner Menu:

-Teff Hoe cakes with Berbere Pimento
-She-crab salad Biscuit
-Crispy Oyster with Uni Comeback Sauce
-Cowpea Fritters
-Fried Green Tomatoes with Benne Seeds and Pickled Benne Aioli

-Shrimp and Grits, Corn and heirloom tomato, Bird Funk, Cheddar Bacon Grits
-Cheerwine Briased Pork Cheek, Jalepeno Creamed Corn, Watercress, pickled Squash, Boiled Peanuts
-Hot Smoked Carolina Coast Fish, Butterbean Succotash

-Pickled Peach & Blueberry Cobbler with Brown sugar & Bourbon Ice Cream

 

 

 

CCAPCommunityVideos

Fundraiser for C-CAP’s 25th Anniversary

By Becca Cory | July 1, 2015

Help me raise $25K for CCAP's 25th Anniversary!

Help me raise $25K for CCAP's 25th Anniversary!

I took the first step in my career by training at a local culinary school in Sweden, and while I’ve come a long way since then, I’ll never forget how I got started… That’s why I’m so proud to be involved with Careers Through Culinary Arts Program. C-CAPmakes an enormous impact on the lives of at-risk students by helping them build careers in the culinary industry. In honor of its 25th anniversary, I want to raise $25,000 to help them continue the great work. We’ve already raised over $11,000 for this amazing organization, so let’s raise another $14,000!

When you give to C-CAP, I give back to you! The person who raises the most for this great cause will get an amazing trip for two to Bermuda, including airfare, a 3-night stay at the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, and dinner at my new restaurant,Marcus’! You can also support this great cause by making a donation. For $25 you’ll get access to an exclusive cooking video, for $50 you’ll also get a signed copy of my new young-adult book, Make It Messy, for $100 you’ll also get a signed copy of myMarcus Off Duty cookbook, and for $200 you’ll also get an Ambessa Tea gift set. Plus, this fundraiser will be timed with the release of a new round of my “How-To” cooking videos! The ideas for these videos were all user generated, so make sure to check out my YouTube and Facebook pages, starting today, as they roll out.

Thank you so much for your ongoing support, and to those who have already donated, in helping these dedicated youths realize their dreams.

BooksFood for ThoughtMake it Messy

Make It Messy

By Marcus Samuelsson | June 9, 2015

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Make It Messy finally releases today, and I am so excited to share my story with my younger fans that have found a connection with the artistry of cooking. My journey has never been an easy one, I have had my share of obstacles, but giving up was never an option, redirecting certainly, but never giving up. Whatever your passion is in life, or even if you’re still a little uncertain, hard work and determination should always direct your steps. I was not necessarily born into a typical circumstance and expectations may not have foreseen me as part of the traditional grid, but life teaches you to “Step up to the challenge; don’t avoid it. Win or lose take the shot.” You are responsible for your choices, and sometimes it’s worth it to make things a little messy. I hope my life inspires you to dream big and go hard.

HarlemHarlem Eat Up

A BIG Thank You for Harlem EatUp!

By Ashley Bode | May 18, 2015

The Stroll: A Grand Tasting Experience - Harlem EatUp! Festival

The Stroll: A Grand Tasting Experience - Harlem EatUp! Festival
It’s hard to believe that the first annual Harlem EatUp! is already over. I was so amazed by the overwhelming support I saw from my friends and the Harlem community. Every moment – from the collaborative dinners around the neighborhood on Friday night, to the special chef demos and panels, to the delicious walk-around tastings in Morningside Park – was better than I could have hoped.

This event would not have been possible without the numerous chefs, restaurants, and artists, both local and visiting, who dedicated their time and talent. Special thanks to the many people who helped make this dream a reality: founding sponsors Citi and Ernst & Young and platinum sponsors Aetna and Macy’s; beneficiaries City Meals on Wheels and Harlem Park to Park; and CCAP, ICC and ICE for our culinary volunteers. To former President Clinton, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and former NYC Mayor David Dinkins – so thrilled you could make it, your presence and involvement with the festival was so appreciated.

I hope everyone who came had as much fun as I did…see you next year!

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About The Team

Whether it’s finding the best goat tacos in LA, spotting a well-worn vintage bag in Sweden, or interviewing the “crab man” selling seafood on a corner in Harlem, we tell stories seen from Chef Marcus Samuelsson‘s point of view. MarcusSamuelsson.com strives to create conversations about food, nutrition, culture, art, and design. We want to find Read More

Restaurants

Streetbird Rotisserie
Marcus’ Bermuda
Eatery Social Taqueria
Red Rooster Harlem
Ginny’s Supper Club
Uptown Brasserie
American Table Cafe and Bar
Kitchen and Table
American Table Brasserie and Bar
Norda
Marc Burger