Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Marcus Samuelsson: Dad prepared him for race in kitchen

(Feb 25, 2015, (MIAMI BEACH, Fla.))--Growing up in Sweden, chef Marcus Samuelsson learned many lessons that would follow him into the kitchen as an adult, from how to smoke mackerel to the best technique for forming meatballs. But the one that may have stuck with him the most came from his father and was about skin color, not culinary skill.

This Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012 file photo shows Chef Marcus Samuelsson, owner of the Red Rooster, at the restaurant in New York (Richard Drew AP Photo)

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Samuelsson, who was born in Ethiopia and adopted by a Swedish family after his mother died, said his father taught him early that life in the restaurant industry would be different as a black chef from Africa.

"It was my job to break down those barriers. I carry many barriers, like being an immigrant, being from Africa. But it also gave me a focus and a work ethic. You have to be a little bit more precise," Samuelsson said during a recent interview during the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.

Today, Samuelsson runs three restaurants, including the Red Rooster Harlem in New York, has won multiple James Beard Foundation awards, was the youngest person to ever receive a three-star review from The New York Times, and was tasked with planning and executing the Obama administration's first state dinner. Read more from Miami Herald »

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