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Marcus Samuelsson

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Information about Marcus Samuelsson

Profile image of Marcus Samuelsson

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Chef
Restaurateur

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Home Cooked Meal
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Fine Folks

Birthplace

Born:
11/6/1970

Profession

Category:
BusinessMakers
Occupation(s):
Chef
Restaurateur

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Home Cooked Meal
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Fine Folks

Birthplace

Born:
11/6/1970
See how Marcus Samuelsson is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson (born Kassahun Tsegie) was born in Ethiopia on January 25, 1971. Samuelsson was orphaned in 1972, when a tuberculosis epidemic took the life of his mother. In 1973, he and his sister were adopted by Ann Marie and Lennart Samuelsson and brought to Gothenburg, Sweden, where his grandmother, Helga, taught him how to cook. Samuelsson went on to study at the Culinary Institute in Gothenburg, apprenticed in Switzerland in 1989, and then in France from 1992 to 1994.

In 1994, Samuelsson moved to the United States for an apprenticeship with Aquavit, a restaurant in New York City. He was quickly promoted to executive chef and then made partner of Aquavit in 1997. In 1995, Samuelsson became the youngest chef ever to receive a three-star restaurant review from The New York Times. In 2003, he opened the New York restaurant, Riingo, which served Japanese-influenced American food. He then launched a television show, Inner Chef, which aired in 2005, and another in 2008 called Urban Cuisine. In 2010, he opened a third restaurant called Red Rooster in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. He founded FoodRepublic.com in 2011, and opened another restaurant, Ginny's Supper Club, in 2012. In the fall of 2012, Samuelsson, together with Clarion Hotels, launched a restaurant concept called Kitchen & Table. In addition, he has served as a visiting professor of international culinary science at the Umeå University School of Restaurant and Culinary Arts in Sweden, and has been an advisor to The Institute of Culinary Education in New York City.

Samuelsson is the author of Aquavit and the New Scandinavian Cuisine (2003), The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa (2006), New American Table (2009), and Yes, Chef: A Memoir (2012). He also authored the Swedish cookbook, En smakresa: middagstips från Marcus Samuelsson, which was named Sweden’s Cookbook of the Year in 2002.

Samuelsson has received numerous honors for his work. In 1999, he was awarded the coveted James Beard Rising Star Chef Award for his work at Aquavit. In 2003, he was named "Best Chef: New York City" by the James Beard Foundation. Samuelsson has also been named a Great Chef of America by the Culinary Institute of America and a Global Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum. In 2009, he served as the guest chef for the first State Dinner of the Obama administration. He appeared on and won the reality television competition Top Chef Masters in 2010, and was a contestant on the fourth season of The Next Iron Chef in 2011. In 2013, Samuelsson won the James Beard Foundation award for Writing and Literature related to food.

Marcus Samuelsson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 18, 2014.

See how Marcus Samuelsson is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Marcus Samuelsson's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Marcus Samuelsson lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Marcus Samuelsson describes his maternal family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about his adoption, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about his birth father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Marcus Samuelsson describes his relationship with his sister
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Marcus Samuelsson describes his adoptive parents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Marcus Samuelsson describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers his childhood in Sweden
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Marcus Samuelsson recalls his early understanding of race, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about his adoption, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Marcus Samuelsson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Sweden
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about his education in Sweden, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Marcus Samuelsson describes his adoptive mother's parenting
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers playing soccer in Sweden
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Marcus Samuelsson describes his early appreciation of food culture
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about his education in Sweden, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers changing his focus to the culinary arts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Marcus Samuelsson recalls his early understanding of race, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about his work ethic
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Marcus Samuelsson describes his home life in Sweden
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about his adoptive upbringing
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers applying for his first restaurant job
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Marcus Samuelsson recalls working as a cook at the SAS Park Avenue Hotel in Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers the mentorship of his first employer
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Marcus Samuelsson recalls his apprenticeship at the Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel and Spa in Interlaken, Switzerland, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Marcus Samuelsson recalls his apprenticeship at the Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel and Spa in Interlaken, Switzerland, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers the influence of Mayor David N. Dinkins' election
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Marcus Samuelsson describes his challenges as a black aspiring chef in Europe
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about his decision to focus on his career instead of his family
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Marcus Samuelsson recalls being hired at Aquavit in New York City
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers his arrival in New York City
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Marcus Samuelsson recalls becoming the executive chef of Aquavit
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers changing the menu at Aquavit
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about the clientele of Aquavit
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about the African American professional community in New York City
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about Aquavit's three star rating in The New York Times
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about his success in the culinary profession
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers his adoptive father's death
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about applying for U.S. citizenship
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers the attacks of September 11, 2001
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers moving to New York City's Harlem neighborhood
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers opening the Red Rooster Harlem in New York City, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Marcus Samuelsson remembers opening the Red Rooster Harlem in New York City, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about the clientele of the Red Rooster Harlem
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about the staff of the Red Rooster Harlem
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Marcus Samuelsson describes his culinary vision
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Marcus Samuelsson describes the marketing strategy of the Marcus Samuelsson Group
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about the history of African American restaurant ownership
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Marcus Samuelsson talks about his wife
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Marcus Samuelsson reflects upon his legacy