Day: October 24th, 2006

Marcus Samuelsson book launch

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006 | All Things, Books, Eats, Events

Marcus Samuelsson is executive chef and co-owner of Aquavit, AQ Café at Scandinavia House and Riingo in New York City. At the age of 25, he became the youngest chef ever to receive a three-star restaurant review from The New York Times (from Ruth Reichl in 1995), repeating the distinction with reviewer William Grimes in 2001. At 29, he was individually recognized in Crain’s New York Business’ annual “40 Under 40” and was celebrated as one of “The Great Chefs of America” by The Culinary Institute of America. The James Beard Foundation presented Samuelsson with the “Rising Star Chef” title in 1999 and the “Best Chef: New York City” award in 2003.

In addition to his impressive cooking credentials, Samuelsson was also recognized by the World Economic Forum as one of the “Global Leaders for Tomorrow.” The annual award recognizes young innovators from around the world in the arenas of business, government, civil society, the arts and media. Samuelsson dedicates his time and talent to the Careers Through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), a non-profit organization that promotes career opportunities in the food service industry for disadvantaged youth through culinary arts education and employment. In addition, he acts as the official spokesperson for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. As ambassador for the cause, he supports tuberculosis control in developing countries – an issue close to his heart, having been orphaned by the disease in Ethiopia at the age of three. (He and his sister were subsequently adopted by a young couple from the West Coast of Sweden .)

Samuelsson is already the author of three critically acclaimed cookbooks, and tonight he was in Midtown promoting his fourth, The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa which celebrates the food and culture of the African continent through recipes, personal stories and images that capture the soul of his birth home.

The recipes in the book are a departure for this chef, best known for his Scandinavian-influenced cooking. Samuelsson talked a bit about how working on this latest cookbook led him to make discoveries about his own heritage. I had hoped there would be a cooking demonstration of some kind, but the room was neither equipped nor sufficiently lit for preparing food.  There were passed appetizers and fruity drinks — no injera or tej, though.

W Court


For Ethiopian cuisine in New York, there are several options: Awash on the far Upper West Side (where SC’s birthday dinner was held a couple of years ago), Ghenet in SoHo, Meskerem and Queen of Sheba in Hells Kitchen. The best one is a matter of some debate.

Edited to add:  The New York Times spotlights a new contender: Meskel Ethiopian Restaurant in the East Village. 

There are 3 comments