A day in the life of chef Marcus Samuelsson

The chef, entrepreneur and face of the new Harlem gives us an inside look at what it takes to keep his empire running.

Red Rooster

Interior of Red Rooster (Photo: Paul Brissman/Courtesy of Red Rooster)

Excerpted from NewYork.com

“I love Harlem, it’s a very vibrant community,” says chef Marcus Samuelsson of his chosen live-and-work neighborhood. Samuelsson is a big part of the Uptown scene: He shares an apartment there with his wife, Maya, and is the chef/owner of Red Rooster and Ginny’s Supper Club just a few blocks away.

The 43-year-old James Beard Award-winner first made a splash in New York City as the executive chef at the Scandinavian restaurant Aquavit, when in 1995 he was the youngest chef in history to receive three stars from The New York Times. Since then, he has built an international empire of restaurants that stretch from New York to Sweden, the country where he grew up, and he even penned an award-winning memoir, Yes, Chef, the paperback version of which came out this past spring. Though he has been spending a lot of time in L.A. recently, filming The Taste with colleagues Anthony Bourdain, Ludo Lefebvre and Nigella Lawson, Samuelsson says he loves coming home to his daily routine in New York City. Here’s a taste of a day with a master chef.

6 a.m.
I wake up and start the day with a run, about three to four miles in Central Park. My morning runs are among the best part of my day.

7 a.m.
After, for breakfast, I’ll make a smoothie with veggies and fruits, or I just grab an apple from the nearest fruit stand.

8 a.m.
I sit down to look at my schedule for the day, with a cappuccino, to see what meetings I need to prepare for, and what’s going on at the restaurant today.

9 a.m.
I arrive at Red Rooster. I’ll pop into the restaurant and talk to my managers and chefs to get an assessment of how the night went and what dishes guests enjoyed the most.

10 a.m.
I’ll likely be meeting with my executive team, or talking with my digital team to discuss social media strategy. These can last from 10 minutes chats to two-hour jam sessions.

12:30 p.m.
I definitely don’t have a typical lunch every day. It can be a tasting at Rooster, or it could be some Caribbean food from this spot, Sisters, in Harlem which I love, or it could be stealing bites of a sandwich or salad from my team.

1:30 p.m.
My afternoons can involve everything from phone or in-person interviews, photo shoots, tastings of new dishes, attending board meetings for the MoMA or the Apollo Theater, and thinking (always thinking) about the new projects I want to do in the future. Many times my afternoon has more than one of these things going on.

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