Marcus Samuelsson was born in Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, and now makes Harlem his home. He developed a deep love for cooking from his grandmother and gained wide praise as executive chef at New York restaurant Aquavit, winning multiple awards including a James Beard Award, and starring in TV shows including Top Chef and The Feed. He opened the Red Rooster Harlem in 2010, followed by Ginny’s Supper Club, and several other concepts in the U.S. and abroad. A celebrity chef and style icon with plenty of star power, he’s also a New York Times bestselling author. His new book The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem is out now.
Congratulations on The Red Rooster Cookbook!
I’m very excited about the book — it took four years to write. It’s a follow-up to Yes, Chef, which ended in Harlem and this book begins there. I really love the stories, the illustrations by Rebekah Maysles and Leon Johnson, and the photographs by Bobby Fisher. It’s a love letter to Harlem, the place where I live with my family. The Red Rooster Cookbook isn’t just a cookbook, it’s about stories; it’s a window into Harlem. It’s a window into the neighborhood.
What’s happening in Harlem these days?
I worked with Macy’s Culinary Council to bring a food festival to the neighborhood, Harlem EatUp! There are more restaurants, more jobs — it’s becoming a vibrant hospitality environment. That’s something I take a lot of pride in.
Which recipes from the book are you most proud of?
Our fried chicken recipe, but also the pig ears, the simple catfish; there’s a wide range of recipes for all kinds of cooks. A great cookbook has some aspirational recipes and some you can make in 10 minutes!
If readers make only one recipe in the book, which should it be?
Either the berbere crusted lamb or the fried chicken.
What recipes do people request from you?
People always ask how to do a great chicken recipe. I think that’s because it’s a protein we can all eat, regardless of our spirituality. Roast chicken is a classic.
Where do you eat when you’re in New York City? Continue Reading