Fathom Questionnaire

Meet the Chef: Marcus Samuelsson

by Marcus Samuelsson

Marcus at Red Rooster Harlem.

Hometown: Gothenburg, Sweden.

Occupation: Chef.

Favorite destinations: Tokyo, Smoegen, Jamaica, NYC.

Dying to visit: Peru to find the best ceviche.

Bizarre travel rituals: This isn't that bizarre, but I make sure to pack everything into one duffle so I don't have to check any bags. If I'm traveling someplace for under four days, I make sure it's all in one case. It saves hours, and I'm in the business of making the most of my time. 

In-flight relaxation regime: Most of time I have lots of reading to catch up on. I love reading in Swedish because it's not often that I speak it, so I really like to read Swedish magazines or novels. It puts me somewhere else.

Always in carry-on: Notebooks for my next idea in terms of lifestyle and cooking. I used these all the time when I was coming up with ideas for Red Rooster Harlem and Ginny's Supper Club and you should see my notebooks. There are small notes and drawings of cocktails and food that eventually made it onto the menu at the two spots.

Concierge or DIY? DIY.

See it all or take it easy? See it all, definitely. On tour for Yes, Chef, I would drive around in between events and signings to check out what the food scene was like at my chef friend's spots or classic hole-in-the-wall joints. 

Drive or be driven? Well, I don't have a driver's license, so be driven.

Travel hero: Ian Fleming is one of them. He traveled and lived off the coast in northeast Jamaica when he was writing the James Bond books. The movie Goldeneye was inspired by the name of his cabin (which is now a great hotel). Then there's Hemingway. And I love the photographer Peter Beard, who went to Kenya to take photos of magnificent African animals and hung out with Andy Warhol.

Weirdest thing seen on travels: A six-year-old sitting in First Class. 

Best hotel amenity: A good bed. 

I dream about my meal at State Bird Provisions in San Francisco, my first meal at Trotter's in 1997 (I had never at that point seen American food presented with perfect service and perfect wine), and eating lamb tartare in my wife's village in Ethiopia.

Everywhere I go, I check out the local food and music scene, ethnic markets, and neighborhood watering holes. The seedier, the better.

When I arrive in a new place, I learn the lay of the land by taking a run.

I always bring home shirts and scarves

If I never return to Berlin, it'll be too soon because I got arrested for sitting on a park bench. It was probably a good experience but at the time it was horrible.

I travel for the food. 


Website: marcussamuelsson.com
Twitter: @MarcusCooks
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