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August 20 2014

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1 posts tagged "Top Chef Masters"

Marcus Samuelsson, Food’s Most Fashionable Man

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Chef Marcus Samuelsson has a string of impressive accolades for his achievements in the food world, ranging from multiple honors from the James Beard Foundation to becoming the youngest chef ever to get two three-star reviews from The New York Times to beating out 21 other chefs in Bravo’s Top Chef Masters competition. But the New York-based chef has got fashion cred to match—Samuelsson made Vanity Fair‘s International Best Dressed List last year, along with Kate Middleton, Tilda Swinton, and Carey Mulligan. He was also hand-selected by Bono and Ali Hewson to star in their Fall ’11 menswear campaign for their clothing line Edun. (Fittingly, Bono and Hewson hosted the party to celebrate the campaign launch at Samuelsson’s Harlem restaurant Red Rooster. Trust us, fashion folk made an exception to their juice cleanse diets that night to try some of his award-winning comfort food.)

Over the weekend, Samuelsson guest-cooked a four-course dinner at Sole East Resort’s The Backyard Restaurant in Montauk to celebrate his latest accomplishment, his memoir Yes, Chef. The book chronicles his incredible journey, from becoming orphaned in Ethiopia at a very young age to growing up in Sweden (where he learned to cook from his new grandma Helga) to cooking President Obama’s first State Dinner. Samuelsson took a break from the kitchen (where he was cooking up gravlax, striped bass, berbere roasted chicken, and more—all dishes he writes about in his tale) to talk with Style.com about the tome, his personal style, and his thoughts on the relationship between food and fashion.

What has the response been to the book so far?
The other night we did a dinner at Red Rooster so people could have a dialogue about the book. So many people are interested and excited about it. Whether they are chefs or not, I just want people to identify with it. When you cook recipes from a book like we did at Red Rooster and at the Sole East dinner, it is so interesting to get other people’s take on it [the book] and I also think they get a richer experience tasting the food and flavors mentioned in my story.

What food in particular holds the most sentimental value to you?
Meatballs, for me, will always remind me of being 7 years old and cooking them with my grandmother. It is not the fanciest, but it was a taste that was with me until I came back to Ethiopia.

The relationship between food and fashion has always been an interesting one. What do you think about that relationship?
I think there are a lot of similarities. You have to travel if you want to be a great designer or a great chef. You have to work for a big chef, you have to work for a big designer for a while before you go do your own thing. I have a lot of designer friends, like Jason Wu, and it is the love of the craft that we share. Real designers do it for the love of the craft and the same thing with chefs—they would cook regardless.
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