Marcus Samuelsson

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Marcus Samuelsson
Samuelsson at the 2012 Göteborg Book Fair
Kassahun Tsegie
ካሳሁን ጽጌ

(1971-11-06) 6 November 1971 (age 52)[2]
EducationCulinary Institute
Gothenburg, Sweden
SpouseMaya Haile
Culinary career
Current restaurant(s)
    • Marcus B & P
    • Marc Burger
    • C-House
    • Street Bird
    • Ginny's
    • Red Rooster
    • Marcus Montreal
    • Swedish Supper Club[1]
Previous restaurant(s)
    • Aquavit
    • Riingo
    • SECOND
    • Red Rooster Shoreditch, London
Television show(s)
Award(s) won
    • 1999 James Beard Foundation award for "Rising Star Chef"
    • 2003 award for "Best Chef in New York City"

Marcus Samuelsson (born Kassahun Tsegie; Amharic: ካሳሁን ፅጌ 25 January 1971)[3] is an Ethiopian-born Swedish-American celebrity chef, restaurateur and television personality. He is the head chef of Red Rooster in Harlem, New York.

Early life and education[edit]

Kassahun Joar Tsegie was born in Ethiopia. His father, Tsegie, is an Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church priest. His mother died in a tuberculosis epidemic when he was three years old.[4] As detailed in Samuelsson's appearance on Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown[5] he and his elder sister, Fantaye,[3] were separated from their family during the turmoil of the Ethiopian Civil War which began in 1974. Subsequently, the siblings were adopted by Anne-Marie and Lennart Samuelsson, a homemaker and a geologist, respectively, who lived in Gothenburg, Sweden. The siblings' names were changed to Marcus and Linda Samuelsson. They also have an adopted sister, Anna Samuelsson. His biological father, Tsegie, the father of eight others (the chef's half-siblings), still resides in the Ethiopian village where Samuelsson was born.[3]

After becoming interested in cooking through his maternal grandmother in Sweden, Samuelsson studied at the Culinary Institute in Göteborg (Gothenburg) where he was raised. He apprenticed in Switzerland and Austria then came to the United States in 1994 as an apprentice at Restaurant Aquavit.[citation needed]


At 24, Samuelsson became executive chef of Aquavit and soon afterwards became the youngest ever to receive a three-star restaurant review from The New York Times.[3] In 2003 he was named "Best Chef: New York City" by the James Beard Foundation. The same year he started a second New York restaurant, Riingo, serving Japanese-influenced American food.[citation needed]

Marcus Samuelsson lecturing at Google in New York City (2007)

In addition to his recognition as a world-class chef, Samuelsson is a cookbook author with titles in both English and Swedish. His 2006 African-inspired cookbook The Soul of a New Cuisine received the prize "Best International Cookbook" by the James Beard Foundation. Other titles written by Samuelsson are Aquavit and the New Scandinavian Cuisine, En Smakresa ("A Journey of Flavour"), and Street Food.[citation needed]

Samuelsson is a Visiting Professor of International Culinary Science at the Umeå University School of Restaurant and Culinary Arts in Sweden.[6][7] He had a television show, Inner Chef, which aired in 2005 on Discovery Home Channel and yet another program in 2008, Urban Cuisine on BET J (now Centric). His cooking combines international influences with traditional cuisines from Sweden to Japan and Africa.[8]

On 24 November 2009, Samuelsson served as the guest chef for the first state dinner of the Barack Obama presidency. The dinner, in honor of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh[9] was served on the South Lawn and largely vegetarian. Samuelsson reportedly sought to combine sustainable and regional foods which reflect the best in American cuisine yet evoke the flavors of India. Harvesting fresh vegetables and herbs from the White House Garden, Samuelsson included red lentil soup, roasted potato dumplings, and green curry prawns on his menu.[10][11] The tradition of guest chefs joining the White House chef for special events began during the Clinton administration.[9]

Samuelsson is an advisor to The Institute of Culinary Education in New York City.

His restaurant, Red Rooster opened in December 2010 in Harlem.[12] In March 2011, Red Rooster hosted a fundraising dinner for the Democratic National Committee. President Obama attended the dinner. The $30,800-per-plate event raised $1.5 million.[13]

In the fall of 2012, Samuelsson, together with Clarion Hotels, launched a restaurant concept called Kitchen & Table. The concept's first restaurant opened at Clarion Hotel Arlanda Airport[14] and from 2013 to 2014 it was held at all Clarion Hotels in Sweden and Norway.[15]

In spring 2015, Samuelsson opened his second Harlem restaurant, Streetbird Rotisserie, a kitchenette with a menu inspired by cookouts focusing on fried and rotisserie chicken, and décor paying tribute to the hip-hop culture of Harlem.[16] In 2015, Marcus partnered with the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club to open the restaurant Marcus' in the Bermuda hotel.[17] The restaurant re-opened with a new menu and decor in March 2017.[18] In late 2016, Samuelsson opened Marcus at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md. and developed the room-service menu for the hotel. In November 2017 he opened a new restaurant, Marcus B&P on Halsey Street in Newark, New Jersey.[19][20]

In spring 2019, Samuelsson announced the opening of Marcus at The Four Seasons Hotel in Montreal.[21]

In fall 2023, Samuelsson opened a new restaurant, "Metropolis", inside the new Perelman Performing Arts Center (PACNYC) in downtown New York City, next to Ground Zero.[22]

Media appearances[edit]

Samuelsson has been featured on television including on CNN, MSNBC's The Dylan Ratigan Show; he has been a judge on Guy's Grocery Games, Top Chef, Iron Chef USA, Iron Chef America, and Chopped making frequent guest appearances on Today. He previously hosted his own television shows, The Inner Chef and Urban Cuisine. He was also a judge on the TV One show My Momma Throws Down.

In early 2010, he competed alongside 21 world-renowned chefs on Bravo's television series Top Chef Masters. Samuelsson won the competition, earning $115,000 for UNICEF's grassroots effort The Tap Project. In 2011, he was a contestant on the fourth season of The Next Iron Chef competing against nine other chefs for the opportunity to be designated an "Iron Chef" and appear regularly on Iron Chef America. Samuelsson was eliminated in the fifth episode, finishing in sixth place.

After appearing consistently as a culinary judge on the Food Network show Chopped, Samuelsson competed in and won Chopped All Stars 2012: Judges Remix. He was awarded the grand prize of $50,000 for his charity, the Careers Through Culinary Arts Program.[23] Samuelsson is a regular guest judge on Food Network shows Chopped, Chopped Junior, Beat Bobby Flay, Cooks vs. Cons, The Kitchen, and Star Plates.

On 28 June 2012, Samuelsson was the subject of an extensive interview on Fresh Air with Terry Gross on NPR.

In 2014, he made his debut as a judge on the second season of the American television series The Taste.

In 2015, he appeared in an episode of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown with Ethiopia being the focus of that episode's visit.

Samuelsson appeared on 8 October 2016 episode of the radio show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!. He appeared on the Another Round podcast in June 2017.

In 2016, Samuelsson began making occasional appearances in videos produced for BuzzFeed's Tasty video series mostly providing food demonstrations as well as making a guest appearance in an episode of BuzzFeed's flagship food series Worth It in a segment filmed at Red Rooster where his fried chicken was declared series creator Steven Lim's personal "Worth It winner".[24][25][26] In August 2018, Samuelsson officially joined Tasty as executive chef-in-residence.[27]

In May 2017, Marcus Samuelsson appeared in the final episode of Undercover Boss to find and mentor new culinary talent.[28]

Samuelsson appears as himself in the 2018 movie Scooby-Doo! and the Gourmet Ghost.[29]

On 22 April 2019, Samuelsson appeared on Top Chef Canada Season 7, Episode 4 as a guest judge for a Nordic ingredients challenge.

On 13 October 2020, Samuelsson was introduced as the global brand advisor for Bon Appétit.

On 17 December 2022, Samuelson judged The Great Eyewitness News Holiday Cook-off.[30]

No Passport Required[edit]

In July 2018, Samuelsson premiered a six-part series called No Passport Required on PBS. The series highlights and celebrates immigrant cultures and foods found in the United States. Samuelsson is both the host and executive producer of the series.[31] In 2019, PBS announced that the series was renewed for a second six-episode season.[32]


SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1610 July 2018 (2018-07-10)14 August 2018 (2018-08-14)
2613 December 2019 (2019-12-13)17 February 2020 (2020-02-17)
Season 1 (2018)[edit]
No. in
TitleOriginal air dateU.S. viewers
11"Detroit"10 July 2018 (2018-07-10)N/A
Chef Marcus explores the Middle Eastern community of Detroit.
22"New Orleans"1 July 2018 (2018-07-01)N/A
Chef Marcus discovers how Vietnamese residents have influenced the city in delicious ways.
33"Chicago"24 July 2018 (2018-07-24)N/A
Marcus visits the city's Mexican community to learn about its heritage and cuisine.
44"Queens, NYC"31 July 2018 (2018-07-31)N/A
Samuelsson goes inside the Indo-Guyanese community to explore its roots and cuisine.
55"Miami"7 August 2018 (2018-08-07)N/A
Chef Marcus explores the cuisine, culture and history of the city's Haitian community.
66"D.C."14 August 2018 (2018-08-14)N/A
Marcus Samuelsson dines, dances and dishes with the Ethiopian community in the nation's capital.
Season 2 (2019–20)[edit]
No. in
Title [33]Original air date [33]U.S. viewers
71"Seattle"13 December 2019 (2019-12-13)N/A
Chef Marcus explores the Filipino food and community in Seattle.
82"Los Angeles"20 January 2020 (2020-01-20)N/A
He explores Armenian food and community in Los Angeles, the largest Armenian community in the world outside of Armenia.
93"Houston"27 January 2020 (2020-01-27)N/A
Chef Marcus explores Nigerian food and community in Houston, Texas, the largest Nigerian community in the world outside of Nigeria.
104"Philadelphia"3 February 2020 (2020-02-03)N/A
Marcus Samuelsson heads to Philadelphia, where he meets new friends and old, and learns more about the city’s Italian food scene
115"Las Vegas"10 February 2020 (2020-02-10)N/A
Diverse Chinese food traditions in Las Vegas and chefs who are transforming their parents' cuisine.
126"Boston"17 February 2020 (2020-02-17)N/A
The Brazilian, Portuguese, and Cape Verdean communities in Boston and the South Coast communities of Fall River and New Bedford are explored.


Samuelsson has released cookbooks New American Table, The Soul of a New Cuisine, Marcus Off Duty,[34] and The Red Rooster Cookbook.

In 2012, Samuelsson released Yes, Chef a memoir co-written with journalist Veronica Chambers about Samuelsson's early life and trajectory to becoming a chef.[35] The book gained favorable reviews and won the James Beard Foundation award for Writing and Literature related to food.[36]

After the success of Yes, Chef in 2015 Samuelsson published Make it Messy: My Perfectly Imperfect Life, aimed at young adults.[37]

In 2020, Sameulsson released The Rise, a cookbook with Osayi Endolyn, Yewande Komolafe, Tamie Cook, and Angie Mosier.[38] In interviews about the book, Samuelsson describes the book as a means to share the Black experience in food history.[39][40]

Personal life[edit]

Samuelsson is married to the model Gate (Maya) Haile. Their wedding was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.[41] They live in Harlem.[9][42] They have one son, Zion Mandela,[43] and a daughter, Grace Ethiopia.[44] Samuelsson also has an adult daughter;[43] he supported her financially but did not otherwise participate in her upbringing.[45] Samuelsson serves on the board at City Harvest and serves as co-chair of the board of directors for Careers Through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP).[46] He also has been a UNICEF ambassador since 2000, and he and his wife are the co-founders of the Three Goats Organization.[46] Samuelsson is a keen soccer (association football) fan and an avid supporter of Arsenal F.C. (London, England).[47]


  1. ^ Fabricant, Florence (29 March 2012). "Starting Tonight, Ginny's Supper Club Looks Back in Harlem". Diner's Journal. New York Times. Retrieved 26 May 2012.
  2. ^ "Timeline: Chef Marcus Samuelsson". Chef Marcus Samuelsson. Archived from the original on 20 May 2019. Retrieved 22 April 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d Pierce, Donna (13 December 2006). "Book of the Year: Back to Africa". Chicago Tribune.
  4. ^ Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend, Netflix, Season 1, episode 2
  5. ^ Season 6, episode 5
  6. ^ Umeå Universitetet Marcus Samuelsson blir adjungerad professor vid Umeå universitet (in Swedish)
  7. ^ Marcus Samuelsson's Bio Archived 29 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine,
  8. ^ Lee, Felicia R. (10 July 1996). "IN THE KITCHEN WITH: Marcus Samuelsson; From Africa to Sweden to Aquavit". The New York Times.
  9. ^ a b c "Marcus Samuelsson To Guest Chef State Dinner". Huffington Post. 18 March 2010. Retrieved 17 December 2011.
  10. ^ Huntington, Lucia (16 December 2009). "Hail to the chef". Boston Globe.
  11. ^ Sokolov, Raymond (26 December 2009). "The Year in Food". Wall Street Journal.
  12. ^ Collins, Glenn (7 September 2010). "Marcus Samuelsson Opens in Harlem". The New York Times.
  13. ^ Lemire, Jonathan; Hutchinson, Bill (29 March 2011). "Obama's Red Rooster fundraising bash pulls in $1.5 million for Democratic National Committee". New York Daily News.
  14. ^ "Clarion Hotel Arlanda Airport". Nordic Choice Hotels.
  15. ^ Kitchen & Table
  16. ^ Fabricant, Florence (31 March 2015). "Marcus Samuelsson's Latest Venture: Streetbird". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  17. ^ Oseid, John. "Hamilton Princess: In Bermuda, The Official America's Cup Hotel Reveals A Major Art Collection". Forbes. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  18. ^ "Marcus' To Re-Open With A New Look And Menu". 9 March 2017. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  19. ^ Politano, Teresa (17 May 2018). "Marcus Samuelsson brings his food empire to Newark". Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  20. ^ Dash, Julekha (9 December 2016). "MGM National Harbor opens with star chefs". USA TODAY. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  21. ^ "Restaurant Avec Terrasse Marcus | Four Seasons Montréal". (in French). Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  22. ^ "A Marcus Samuelsson Restaurant Opens in New York's Stunning New Arts Center". 31 October 2023.
  23. ^ Roberts, Catherine (2 May 2012). "Chopped All Stars 2012 Episode 4 – Judge Remix". FoodBeat. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  24. ^ Fried Chicken As Made By Marcus Samuelsson
  25. ^ Marcus Samuelsson Ribs Tasty Story
  26. ^ WORTH IT S3, E6: "$17 Fried Chicken Vs. $500 Fried Chicken" YouTube
  27. ^ Meet the Faces Of Tasty
  28. ^ "Chef Marcus Samuelsson Sets Off On A Mission In Celebrity Undercover Boss". CBS News. 15 May 2017. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  29. ^ Scooby-Doo! and the Gourmet Ghost IMDB
  30. ^ "MSN". MSN.
  31. ^ NO PASSPORT REQUIRED Six Part Series Hosted by Marcus Samuelsson Premieres Tuesday July 10 on PBS Broadway World
  32. ^ Godwin, Michaé (1 February 2019). "NO PASSPORT REQUIRED with Marcus Samuelsson Returns for Second Season on PBS". PBS.
  33. ^ a b "No Passport Required – Listings". The Futon Critic. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  34. ^ "Aspen Ideas Festival: Chef Marcus Samuelsson on food and community". St. Paul, Minnesota: Minnesota Public Radio. 3 July 2013.
  35. ^ "Yes, Chef: A Memoir, Written by Marcus Samuelsson". Random House.
  36. ^ Brion, Raphael (4 May 2013). "Winners: 2013 James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards".
  37. ^ Samuelsson, Marcus; Chambers, Veronica (2015). Make It Messy: My Perfectly Imperfect Life. Delacorte Press. ISBN 9780385744003.
  38. ^ Samuelsson, Marcus; Endolyn, Osayi; Komolafe, Yewande; Cook, Tamie; Mosier, Angie (2020). The rise: Black cooks and the soul of American food: a cookbook. Little, Brown. ISBN 978-0-316-48068-0. OCLC 1226068147.
  39. ^ "Marcus Samuelsson's New Cookbook Is a Powerful Testament to Black Food Culture". Food & Wine. 6 November 2020. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  40. ^ "Marcus Samuelsson: Erasing Black Culinary History Ignores 'The Soul Of American Food'". 26 October 2020. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
  41. ^ "Destination Weddings: Marcus Samuelsson and Maya Haile".
  42. ^ Lee, Wendy A. (20 February 2010). "Munching to the Future: A Night In with Marcus Samuelsson". New York Times. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  43. ^ a b Calderone, Ana (14 November 2016). "Chef Marcus Samuelsson Introduces Son Zion Mandela: He Is 'Such a Blessing'". Archived from the original on 15 November 2016.
  44. ^ Slater, Georgia (31 January 2022). "Marcus Samuelsson and Wife Maya Welcome Second Baby, Daughter Grace Ethiopia: 'So Excited'". Peoplemag. Retrieved 14 January 2023.
  45. ^ Garner, Dwight (26 June 2012). "A Life Spent in Sugar and Spice". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 August 2023.
  46. ^ a b "Philanthropy". Chef Marcus Samuelsson. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  47. ^ "Chef Marcus Samuelson on How Soccer Is Like Cooking". Bloomberg. 11 July 2016. Retrieved 20 January 2021.

External links[edit]