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Marcus Samuelsson on Why He’s Finally Releasing a Red Rooster Cookbook and What Makes Harlem Great

BY   Nadia Sesay    PUB   Okay Africa 

Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s restaurant, Red Rooster, is a Harlem staple. Ranked as a favorite culinary destination of New Yorkers (see for yourself on Yelp with the restaurant’s diverse 5-star reviews) and Washingtonians—both famous (President Obama) and not so famous (this writer)—Red Rooster is pretty much a crowd favorite of diners across the United States.


Free tip: make your brunch reservations now.

Samuelsson has finally shared the recipes of his culinary landmark in a new cookbook, The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem. The cookbook reveals the secrets to the restaurant’s signature dishes, including “Fried Yardbird” (yes!), and intertwines these glorious Southern food recipes with poems, art and a historical narrative of Harlem.

His passion for food is met closely with his love of music. For one clue to this fact, look no further than Samuelsson’s Ginny’s Supper Club, the lower level to Red Rooster whose sultry ambiance is a portal to the hip and seductive speakeasies of, fittingly, the Harlem Renaissance.



Marcus Samuelsson
CHEF, RESTAURANTEUR
I feel like I have been cooking all my life. Growing up, my sisters Anna and Linda and I spent summers in Smögen, on the west coast of Sweden. Every morning I went fishing with my dad, Lennart, and my uncles. We caught crayfish, lobsters, and mackerel, and often smoked and preserved the catch. My grandmother, Helga, would gather us in the kitchen to teach us how to pickle fresh vegetables, and make meatballs, ginger snaps, cookies, and apple jam. These experiences taught me to love and appreciate fresh and local food.


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