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Clinton Global Initiative – Call to Action

By Raquel Jacquez | October 8, 2015


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.

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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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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

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

-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





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.


Recap: Celebrating Chefs Deliver Anniversary with Citymeals

By Marcus Samuelsson | February 23, 2015

Celebrating Citymeals' Chefs Deliver

On Tuesday, February 17th, Chef Daniel Boulud, Herb Karlitz and I all helped Citymeals commemorate the first anniversary of Chefs Deliver by delivering meals to our homebound elderly neighbors in Harlem. The day’s menu was a collaboration between Chef Boulud and myself – fried yard bird, greens and grits plus apple and raspberry clafoutis.Chefs Marcus Samuelsson and Daniel Boulud celebrate Citymeal's' Chefs Deliver by bringing members of the Harlem elderly community freshly prepared meals.

We started the day off at Red Rooster, where we announced that tickets were officially on sale for Harlem EatUp! – a new, 4-day festival in May celebrating the food, culture, and community of one of my favorite NYC neighborhoods. Citymeals is one of two charity beneficiaries of the events, including:

  • Dinners: Come Dine In Harlem where acclaimed chefs will create distinctive dining experiences inspired by the unique feel today’s Uptown landscape.
  • Harlem Talks: Panel discussions featuring celebrity chefs, restaurateurs, artists and more, including Citymeals Co-Founder Gael Greene.
  • Culinary Demos: Fun chef-led events to teach you tricks of the trade, new cooking techniques, or how to make a new favorite dish.
  • Walk-Around Tastings: On Saturday, Harlem’s food, art and culture will converge in Morningside Park with The Stroll. Return the next day for A Sunday Afternoon in Harlem with fare inspired by the home of the “Gospel Brunch.”

Overall, the day was a huge success. Citymeals is an incredible organization – I’m proud to be one of their many supporters in the chef community. Stay tuned for more info on the Harlem EatUp! festival coming this spring!


Careers Through Culinary Arts Program Fundraiser

By Marcus Samuelsson | February 20, 2015

Your Favorite Cooking Videos

Your Favorite Cooking Videos

I first began my career as a chef at a local culinary school in Sweden. I’ve come a long way since then, but I will never forget how I got started…that’s why I’m so proud to be involved with Careers Through Culinary Arts. The program hugely impacts the lives of underserved teenagers by helping them build careers in the culinary industry through education and career opportunities. In honor of the its 25th anniversary I want to raise $25,000 to help C-CAP continue this great work!

By making a donation you’ll not only be supporting a great cause – you’ll also be getting a chance to learn some new cooking skills yourself! Soon, I’ll be whipping up a fresh batch of how-to videos, so donate what you can – even if it’s just a dollar! – and leave your video suggestion in the comment field. If I pick your idea, I’ll give you a shoutout in the video! Now’s your chance to ask me how to slice, dice, flip, fry, finish or season …

If you’re feeling extra generous, donate $50+ and I’ll send you a secret recipe that’s not in any of my cookbooks. For the first 20 people who donate $150, you’ll also get a signed Marcus Off Duty cookbook – and I’ll even tell you which dish I think you should cook first. And, for those who really want to splurge on this very worthy cause…if you are the first person to donate $5,000 I will personally host a private game night with delicious food and drinks for you and nine friends at The Coop in my new restaurant, Streetbird Rotisserie. By the way, I’m really good at foosball so come prepared.

Thank you so much for your ongoing support and for helping to support these dedicated youths realize their dreams.


Marcus’s Meatless Monday Menu Takes the UN

By Erica Singer | October 7, 2014

pic 1


pic 1

Marcus Samuelsson is at it again.

Chef-owner of Red Rooster Harlem, as well as an avid Meatless Monday and UN supporter, Marcus designed the menu for the most recent United Nations Development Program (UNDP) reception.

As members gathered for the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit, it only seemed fitting that his Meatless Monday menu similarly fit the green goals that evening.

Besides for the opportunity to indulge UN participants with delicious vegetarian cuisine, like with his signature Pear Pumpkin Salad with Pumpkin Seed Recipe, Marcus was also excited to promote Meatless Mondays.

And honestly, why wouldn’t he be? Here are just some of the benefits:

  • Studies show that plant-based diets are associated with a variety of health benefits.
  • Researchers have also discovered that a Monday start-date helps individuals carry their healthy intentions for the week.
  • Finally, advocates argue that it’s also simple way of shrinking one’s carbon footprint.

In this case, Meatless Mondays are more than just a weekly refuge for conflicted omnivores.

On the contrary, they encourage us to take a step back, think about the food we put into our individual bodies, and hopefully better our shared physical environment.

With slogans surrounding the UN summit stating, “Meatless Monday Menu: Lower Your Carbon Footprint,” it was clear that Marcus perfectly catered to his meat-free international audience that night.

Chowing down on Marcus’s seasonal pumpkin salad, it was the perfect day for thinking about how our food consumption truly holds greater collective potential.


Citi Kids with Mr. Met, Michelle Yu and Me

By Marcus Samuelsson | July 31, 2014

Citi Kids in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda
Photo by Steve Campbell

Yesterday I had the privilege of visiting a very special group of kids at Citi Field. With my friend Michelle Yu of SNY, I spoke to over 100 kids from the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens about the importance of Jackie Robinson’s nine values: Courage, Excellence, Persistence, Justice, Teamwork, Commitment, Citizenship, Determination and Integrity. Other speakers included scholars and volunteers of the Jackie Robinson Foundation who encouraged Citi Kids to persevere and dream big.

The kids also got a tour of Citi Field, tickets to the game and snacks from the park’s infamous concession stands. Two of Citi Kids made it onto the field and into the dugout with me before the game– cheering me on for the ceremonial First Pitch. I had a great time and doing this on behalf of City Harvest was the perfect way to spend my first visit to Citi Field and my very first Mets game.


Marcus and Travis d'Arnaud 
photo by Steve Campbell

Marcus and Travis d'Arnaud photo by Steve Campbell

Throwing the first pitch
Photo by Steve Campbell

Throwing the first pitch Photo by Steve Campbell

Citi Kids in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda
Photo by Steve Campbell

Citi Kids in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda Photo by Steve Campbell

Rooster gear in the dugout

Rooster gear in the dugout

Practicing on the field before the first pitch

Practicing on the field before the first pitch

Mets Jersey #10

Mets Jersey #10

Marcus, Michelle Yu from SNY and the Citi Kids

Marcus, Michelle Yu from SNY and the Citi Kids

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A Talented Harlem Student Enjoys a Pastry Internship with Red Rooster

By Suzannah Schneider | July 29, 2014


Jake hard at work in the Red Rooster Kitchen

In May, Marcus met an impressive young man named Jacob at Celebrate Northside! The Northside Center for Child Development 68th Anniversary Gala. Marcus was so moved by Jacob’s interest in cooking that he extended an internship to the 15 year-old aspiring chef. From Tuesday, July 15 through Wednesday, July 16 Jacob enjoyed a hands-on culinary experience within the pastry department at Red Rooster Harlem.

Jacob is a student at a rigorous college preparatory school in The Bronx. He loves science, especially chemistry and forensic sciences. His family is from the Dominican Republic, and he grew up learning how to cook dishes like fried sweet plantains and sorbets from his grandma and uncle. He’ll often make himself Dominican breakfast for dinner, which is a traditional dish of fried eggs, mashed plantains, fried salami, fried cheese, and fried sausage.


Marcus spoke with Jacob about his aspirations as a chef

Jacob’s time with Red Rooster began early on Tuesday at 8:15 in the morning. He worked with our Pastry Chef Melissa Camacho making strawberry jam, cookies, cornbread, and peanut butter pie. He was appreciative of their patience, and really enjoyed working with the kind chefs. Jacob liked making cornbread because he makes a similar recipe at home with his uncle.


Pastry Chef Melissa Camacho taught Jacob how to begin Peanut Butter Pie

For lunch, Jacob enjoyed Red Rooster’s famous Triple-Double Burger infused with bacon, Jarlsberg, and rooster sauce, with, of course, a side of French fries. He was surprised he was able to finish the gigantic sandwich, but loved every bite of it. Jacob wrapped up his first day on the job with a chat with Chef Mark Gandara, mapping out his dreams for the future. He spent his second day of the internship preparing peaches to practice his knife skills.

Jacob with Chef Mark Gandara

A four-day sleep-away basketball camp is coming up for Jacob at the end of this summer. Although he’s eager to learn more about pastry and cooking, Jacob’s looking forward to some rest and relaxation after two long days on his feet.


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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. strives to create conversations about food, nutrition, culture, art, and design. We want to find Read More


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