TADIAS Speaks to Marcus Samuelsson About His Memoir ‘Yes, Chef,’ – Video

Marcus Samuelsson (right) during an interview with Tadias Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Tseday Alehegn at Red Rooster Harlem. (Photo by Kidane Mariam for TADIAS)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: Monday, July 9, 2012

New York (TADIAS) – The day before TADIAS sat down with Marcus Samuelsson at Red Rooster to interview him about his memoir entitled, Yes, Chef, he received the congratulatory news that his book was listed at number 7 on The New York Times Best Seller list. And as NYT’s book review had highlighted a week earlier: “Mr. Samuelsson, as it happens, possesses one of the great culinary stories of our time.”

From contracting tuberculosis at age 2, losing his birth mother to the same disease, and being adopted by a middle-class family in Sweden, Marcus would eventually break into one of the most exclusive clubs in the world, rising to become a top chef with a resume including cooking at the White House as a guest chef for President Obama’s first State Dinner 3 years ago. Since then, Marcus has morphed into a brand of his own, both as an author and as owner of Red Rooster in Harlem.

“I first started to work on the memoir about five years ago”, Marcus told TADIAS. “I have been asked for many years to do a book. I just started to get to know my journey myself.” He added: “You know, there was always new layers, whether it was leaving Aquavit, coming uptown, building Red Rooster, getting married, or learning about my birth father.”

Marcus who lives in New York with his wife, Ethiopian-born model Maya Gate Haile, said he feels at home in Harlem as he does in Sweden and Ethiopia. “Harlem has a sense of home to it,” he said. “It’s a neighborhood in a very busy city, every time I come back to Harlem I feel I am at home in a way that I feel like when I am in the West Coast of Sweden and even when I am in Addis I feel like I am at home in a different way.”

Describing Harlem Marcus said, “You see signs of the Ethiopian and the Harlem community constantly, whether it’s when Haile Selassie visited Harlem or you see the Abyssinian Church, still to this day they do so many trips back to Ethiopia. So it’s something that I am extremely proud to continue on the tradition of the link between Ethiopia and Harlem.” He continued, “Obviously my space is food so it’s also a way to break bread. You know, when I serve dried injera here or berbere roasted chicken, I am continuing a legacy that has been here way before me and hopefully it’s going to continue way after me.”

You can watch the video below for our full interview with Marcus Samuelsson.

We say rush to get your own copy of Yes, Chef, it’s a fantastic read!

Video: Interview with Marcus Samuelsson About His Memoir ‘Yes, Chef,’ (TADIAS TV)

12 Responses to “TADIAS Speaks to Marcus Samuelsson About His Memoir ‘Yes, Chef,’ – Video”

  1. 1 Getnet Jul 8th, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Talented, and yet humble!!!!!! Keep it up brother i am really proud.

  2. 2 Mule Jul 8th, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    Marcus you are an Anbessa! Do’t ever forget that! Lion is always a lion!

  3. 3 Tedla Asfaw Jul 8th, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    I had a chance to listen to a podcast from fresh air on WNYC where you were a guest last week. I loved it because you had 30 minutes to tell us what we missed in Brian show. I thank you also for bringing the Ethiopian Community in the Map of New York. Our community here in New York is not like Washington, DC in number but a very active community. Our churches at River Side and Beata Mariam in NYC, Amanuel in NJ and St Mary at Yonkers and Ethiopian Muslims Mosques are the major ones. We have Ethiopian Restaurants too as you well know. Can I call them Injera Bets ?

    Red Rooster is now a tourist attraction and we are very proud of you. You articulated very well why you put your business in Harlem. Yes indeed we are in 21st Century and we should be creative in testing new ideas. You are a pioneer Marcus. I will get a signed book of “Yes Chef” from Red Rooster soon to get some inspiration.


    Tedla Asfaw

    Flushing, NY

  4. 4 Proud Abesha Jul 9th, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Tadias evryone:

    As we speak, my boss, who is a nice guys in most days but a moody engineer in other days (unless you mention anything to do with “food,” and a big fan of Marcus) is watching this video for the second time in the next cubicle! I forwarded to him this morning :-)

    Personally, as an Abesha, I also enjoyed listening to Ms. Tseday Alehegn’s questions as I did Marcus’ answers. It feels like I was hearing to two friends chatting! Proud of them both!

    Good luck Marcus! I will get the book!

    Melkam ken!


  5. 5 Meron D. Jul 9th, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Go Marcus!!

  6. 6 salem Jul 11th, 2012 at 3:26 am

    I’m critical of the author’s view of Harlem as a comfortable place for “blacks.” This may have been the case in the past but is no longer today’s reality. Property values have pushed blacks out of the neighborhood, save for a handful of middle class blacks. The author’s idea of reinventing a Harlem of the past may work well for him idealistically or to create a market niche but unfortunately the socioeceonomic condition of blacks in the neighborhood is quite impoverished and far removed from his representation.

  7. 7 Sirak Uptown Jul 11th, 2012 at 10:29 am

    As as a black person, abesha, and a long resident of Harlem, and contrary to outside assumptions, yes there are many blacks in Harlem that are “comfortable” including African Americans, Africans, Carbeans, and Dominicans that are doing very well and happy here. I can introduce to several “comfortable” balck friends in my block alone, eshi. Over all the new change is a good thing, but as any other place in the world it’s not x-mas in Harlem everyday either. So there are difficultiies, but Harlem is not the way it used to be in the 1990′s borded up, crack buidings. That’s history. Today, thanks to innovative people like Marcus, Harlem is on the rise and we are gretful for it!

    Eshi, Dena walu

  8. 8 Mimi Jul 11th, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Just finished readig the book. So much respect Marcus!


  9. 9 Latina Harlem-Lite Jul 11th, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Actaully what the author said was that as an immigrant he feels at home and comfortable in Harlem. I see nothng wrong with that. Gentrification is real, but Harlem historically and still is a center of black culture and Marcus is a living example of that today. Let’s drop this none sense, however, that local economic revitalization or lack of it affects black residents only. Unless, you don’t know Harlem, it is very diverse and it has always been.

  10. 10 mz Jul 11th, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    “One of the great culinary strories of our time,” indeed! And a great and inspirational persoanl story as well! Proud of Macrus!

  11. 11 Mesfin Jul 11th, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    Great Interview. I, too, found Marcus as very smart, humble, ambitious, and articulate young man. He has become a shining example and role model for all Ethiopians and beyond.. .

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