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Why I’m Working on Time Management Outside the Kitchen

By Marcus Samuelsson | January 28, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 11.40.35 AM

Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 11.40.35 AM

At the start of the calendar year, I am always reflecting on the previous year, but also looking toward the new year to make important changes in how I operate and accomplish my goals. I’ve received a lot of great advice over the years and people have definitely guided me in becoming more skilled and creative — both in the kitchen and in business. Over time, I have learned that it is really important to surround yourself with quality people whom you can trust. This year, I will be working harder to focus on the big decisions so that I can leave the minutia to my team. In order to do that, I’ll be working on one essential skill that is critical to success in business — time management.

Time management is really just one tool in setting yourself for success. When I was a young chef working the line at Aquavit, I had to learn the dance that is a dinner service. Each dish was timed out just so and there was little room for mistakes. There weren’t timers there to keep us on top of each dish, but an internal clock that guided us through from start to finish, maximizing each moment and multitasking as we went along. I’ve figured out that I have to take this same approach outside of the kitchen as well.

As the list of projects grows, there is less and less time to make smaller decisions throughout the day. Time management is an essential skill that I am constantly challenging myself to improve so that I can be more efficient throughout the day and overall, be more effective in the work week. I have a lot of projects coming up this year, and I often rely on my team to keep me focused. I have the ultimate trust in the people I work with, so when things are critical and time is limited, collectively, we can just get things done when needed instead of needing the last approval from me.

Traveling is also a huge part of my business and work life, so utilizing my time effectively while moving from event to event or traveling overseas is becoming easier, thanks to technology. This year, I’ll be working on designing my travel schedule so that I can be overseas for longer periods of time to prevent too much back and forth. The longer periods of time in one place also allow for a rhythm to set in and consistency to shine through.

This is a post that originally appeared on LinkedIN as a contributing post to a series where professionals describe the skills they’re building this year. Read all of the stories here.

 

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This is the Year When Chefs Will Become Front-of-House Educators

By Marcus Samuelsson | December 15, 2015

Marcus In the Herb Garden

There are many challenges that chefs face as a result of a multitude of factors — our industry, the environment, consumer wants and needs, and most importantly, our vision and artistry. Fortunately, chefs are wired to find creative solutions to difficult problems. As I look toward the new year, I am excited by the potential that chefs have to help train and grow our own employment pool and drive sustainable practices as solutions to many of our world’s climate and environmental challenges.

As restaurants fill their seats with more experienced and savvy diners, the industry is facing a shortage that impacts us all; skilled workers. One of the organizations I spend time working with addresses this directly and will be hugely influential in 2016.  C-CAP, Careers through Culinary Arts Program, provides culinary training for under-served youth and helps students to gain entrance to culinary schools, find scholarships and eventually jobs in the work force. They do so by asking industry leaders what training should be mandatory and then turning this into a teaching strategy. The success rate is high and the personal stories coming out of the program are incredible and inspiring. C-CAP benefits not just the restaurants like my own who are challenged with finding reliable and passionate employees, but it benefits the student, the culture of urban American cities and it chips away at the jobless rate in neighborhoods like my own.

Bringing in young talent also gives me the opportunity to teach and elevate the conversations in the kitchen to a dialogue about food waste and efficiency. When I think about Harlem, I see that there is even more possibility for growth in practices that sustain local markets. I speak with my team on daily basis about embracing our neighbors. Communicating with local vendors and farmers help to sustain people within the community and when we utilize local markets to create specific menu items — it reinforces that message to our guests in the restaurant. It’s exciting to see dishes in my restaurants, Red Rooster and Streetbird, that were created specifically for what is available locally and seasonally. I truly believe that chefs can be the voice of these kinds of messages — messages that encourage models that are moving toward more sustainable practices in the food system.

In the next year, chefs will be challenged to think creatively about how to use all parts of the plant or animal and make serious considerations for sourcing responsibly. It is critical that as we learn, we teach others what we have learned, through programs like C-CAP. 2016 will challenge us as chefs, to utilize our platform in order to educate each other and reinforce the important messages of sustainable practices in the restaurant and beyond.

This post was originally published in series of posts by LinkedIn Influencers. In this series, professionals predict the ideas and trends that will shape 2016. Read all of the posts here and be sure to follow Marcus on LinkedIN.

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

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.

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Notes from LinkedIn: Cooking Your Way Into a New Community

By Marcus Samuelsson | June 27, 2013

MS

It’s the start of the Aspen Ideas Festival, a gathering of great minds in Colorado to discuss incredible innovations and the most pressing issues of the present. I’m extremely excited to hear some of these amazing thinkers and leaders speak (you can see the all-star line up here) and am even more humbled to have been asked to be a presenter.

The title of my talk is “Cooking and Eating Your Way to a New Community.” For those with tickets, you can come hear me live bright and early on Saturday morning! For those without, I thought I would briefly share a few of my thoughts beforehand. Read More

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Notes from LinkedIn: “Prop 37″ and Labeling Genetically-Modified Foods

By Marcus Samuelsson | November 8, 2012

Photo: fishhawk

This post was originally posted on November 5th as part of the LinkedIn Influencer’s Program. Proposition 37 was not passed in California on November 6th. Read some insightful responses to the outcome of the vote here and here.  

Photo: fishhawk

The election is incredibly important, particularly in California. Not only will the state have a large say in who the next President will be, they also have the potential to fundamentally alter how people look at food in this country. Featured prominently on the state ballot  will be Proposition 37, a “Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Modified Foods Initiative.” If passed, the proposition would require food producers to label all raw or processed foods that come from any plants or animals that have undergone this form of scientific genetic change. Read More

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Notes from LinkedIn: Eat Globally, Eat Better – Viva Brasil!

By Marcus Samuelsson | November 5, 2012

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Brazilian Feijoada; Photo: João Guilherme di Carvalho

This post was first published on LinkedIn on October 23rd. 

I believe in chasing flavors and that if we eat globally we can eat better. Other countries have so much to offer not just in terms of new dishes but also in thier understandings of food and agriculture that can improve how we all eat. One of the nations I am particularly excited about is Brazil; anyway you frame it, this South American giant is a country on the rise. Read More

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Notes from LinkedIn: Carbo-Loading and the Marathon

By Marcus Samuelsson | November 2, 2012

carbs

Originally posted on LinkedIn where I contribute weekly stories as part of their INfluencers Program. 

Despite the devastation of the hurricane this past week and despite the backlash from some quarters of the city, the New York City marathon is set to be held as scheduled on Sunday. Even as 47,000 runners get set to pound the pavement, I’m still thinking about food. We’ve all heard of carbo-loading before the big race, but does it really work? Read More

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Notes from LinkedIn: Eat Globally, Eat Better – Hello Vietnam!

By Marcus Samuelsson | November 1, 2012

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Photo: goodmami

Originally posted on LinkedIn where I contribute weekly stories as part of their INfluencers program

Just like I am keeping my eyes on the culinary landscape of Brazil, I believe Vietnamese is another cuisine to watch. With its abundance of vegetables, minimal use of oils, and liberal application of spice, Vietnamese food is not only delicious but is also considered one of the healthiest cuisines in the world. The country’s better-known dishes include phò, the broth and noodle soup, bánh mì sandwiches, and gỏi cuốn, more popularly known as summer rolls. Read More

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Notes from LinkedIn: Delicious Science

By Marcus Samuelsson | October 23, 2012

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Photo: Monika Sziladi

From my first bite at The Cooking Lab in Seattle, I knew I was tasting the future of food. The brainchild of Nathan Myhrvold, former Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft and current CEO at Intellectual Ventures, the Lab brings together world-class scientists and chefs to explore the science underlying everything that we eat. Their findings are not only pushing the boundaries of our understandings of food but also bring out some of the purest and most intense flavors already present in the simplest of ingredients. From vegetable soups run through centrifuges that contain no uneccessary fat for flavor to the perfectly cooked hamburger (hint: it involves liquid nitrogen), the findings of this lab are revolutionizing the possibilities of cooking and eating. Read More

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Experiences at the International Chef’s Congress

By Marcus Samuelsson | October 15, 2012

Photo: Joseph Hernandez

Photo: Joseph Hernandez

I recently had the pleasure of attending StarChefs.com’s 7th Annual International Chef’s Congress, whose theme this year was “Origins and Frontiers.” Besides getting to meet some amazing talent in the food industry, I also got to sit on a panel with some great minds: Chefs John Besh and Sat Bains (of Besh Restaurant Group and Restaurant Sat Bains, respectively) and Richard Grausman, founder of Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP). The panel was titled “Opening Restaurants for Change,” and upon sitting down, moderator and managing editor of StarChefs.com Will Blunt had us dive right in. Read More

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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

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Streetbird Rotisserie
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Eatery Social Taqueria
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American Table Cafe and Bar
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American Table Brasserie and Bar
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