Food says so much about where you’ve come from, where you’ve decided to go, and the lessons you’ve learned. It’s geography, politics, tradition, belief and so much more and this week, we invite you to dig in and discover the rich, ever-evolving taste of America in 2011. The week will culminate with a Secret Supper in New York City, and Eatocracy invites you to participate online starting Monday July 11th at 6:30 p.m. E.T.
Who are you? How do you define yourself?
I define myself as American, Swedish, [and] African. I draw on all of my different cultures and experiences and that is who I am today. I am many different things and that is why I am so proud to be American."
How did you get here: winner of "Top Chef Masters," and owner of the Harlem restaurant, Red Rooster?
My most important job is making Red Rooster Harlem a success. I would like to bring the community together, I would like my neighbors to come in and be proud to dine here. I would like people to rediscover Harlem, and to see and taste it in a different way."
What prepared you for where you are now?
What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?
What is something that everyone should know about you?
What is something that no one knows about you?
What would you tell your younger self about who you are now?
How would you advise your younger self about how to get to where you are now?
Don't worry about money. At some point along the journey, become a waiter so you can actually react to people and see what they like and dislike. You should take the time to learn trades that are a bit difficult for you – [perhaps] law or finance. It is important to develop skills that do not come naturally to you. Try to be as well-rounded as possible."
If there’s one thing you could change about yourself what would it be?
What do you believe in?
"How I Got Here" is an occasional In America feature that looks at the journeys of Americans: who they are, where they are, and how they got there. Chef Marcus Samuelsson was born in Ethiopia, adopted, raised in Sweden and now calls America home. In this piece, he shares how he got here: a top chef, opening Red Rooster in New York City. Find out the biggest obstacle he overcame, and who he thinks is a better cook than him.
Next entry »Box lunch: Black-eyed peas and pimento cheese
« Previous entry"Cook from where you are." Chefs on food as cultural identity