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Red Rooster

Red Rooster Harlem chef/owner Marcus Samuelsson has cooked for the Obama administration multiple times and authored award-winning cookbooks, including New American Table and The Soul of a New Cuisine (foreword by Desmond Tutu). He is the winner of Top Chef Masters Season Two and has been featured on Iron Chef, Martha Stewart, Today Show and Live with Regis and Kelly. This highly respected chef is also a UNICEF ambassador and has been named one of the "Great Chefs of America" by the Culinary Institute of America.


Red Rooster Harlem



How do you characterize your cuisine?

It's Harlem-inspired.

What region or ethnicity most influences your cooking?

It's a blend of my Swedish upbringing, my terroir, Ethiopia (my birthplace), and where I am now, Uptown in NYC.

What is your signature dish?

It's not mine, per se: It's my grandmother Helga's meatballs.

What kind of food were you exposed to as a child?

Husmanskost. It's the term for Swedish home cooking.

Have you ever lived or trained overseas? Where?

I have lived and worked in France, Switzerland, Austria, and Sweden, of course.

Is there an exotic spice or ingredient that you particularly enjoy using?

I love cooking with berbere, a bold spice blend from Ethiopia.

Does the design and style of your restaurant evoke a particular place? If so, where?

Red Rooster, for me, is a celebration of the people of Harlem, inspired by the churches, the brownstones—and a dash of Paris.

When you cook for yourself, what do you make?

I like to make doro wat, a chicken stew that comes from my tribe in Ethiopia.

Tell us about some trips you've taken for inspiration.

I traveled to Japan so I could try to understand sushi better. Brooklyn. Texas. Africa.

What are your thoughts on global cuisine?

We're at a point where any cuisine can express itself today, which is fantastic. We've gone from France to Italy to Japan to America. Now every part of the world is proudly displaying their cuisine. I love it.

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