Swedish American Chamber of Commerce Green Summit: From Farm to Fork

Photo of Gail Simmons, Marcus Samuelsson, Emma Bengtsson, Fredrik Berselius and Amanda Cohen at the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce Green Summit - from Farm to Fork. Just last week Marcus was in conversation with other Swedish restauranteurs at the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce Green Summit - from Farm to Fork.  Growing up in Sweden, Marcus has profound memories eating fresh fish and local foods that were the backbone of his diet as a child. Growing up in that environment allowed him to nurture his curiosity for the world around him and discover the multitude of connections between the environment and his family's kitchen. Today, as a chef and restauranteur, Marcus uses his knowledge and awareness of the webbed supply chain in order to elevate the conversation around sustainability.

As a chef, Marcus has devoted so much of his energies toward growing sustainable models inside his restaurants in order to support the local communities where his restaurants reside. Whether he is in Stockholm, Bermuda or Harlem, Marcus says that each place has its own questions of sustainable practices and faces unique challenges based on the local markets and supply chain.  "We need to activate the farmers markets and hire from within the community in order to create sustainable practices," says Marcus.  Red Rooster has been doing this since its inception and Marcus can recall the success that it has had in doing so. "Buying from the farmers market and purchasing ingredients that are relevant to the community is something chefs can do to activate the local economy. I see it when we create menu items at Red Rooster based on the availability of ingredients at the market," Marcus said in response to a question about local practices from Gail Simmons, cookbook author and TV personality.

Other panelists agreed that chefs have a responsibility to link the produce from the market to the restaurant and broadcast that narrative for the larger public. Marcus was speaking at the Green Summit with Amanda Cohen, Fredrik Berselius, Emma Bengtsson and the conversation was facilitated by Gail Simmons.

From a Chef's Perspective: Marcus in Conversation with Tom Colicchio and Andrea Reusing at the New York Times' Food for Tomorrow Conference

Screen Shot 2015-10-22 at 3.32.00 PM This week, chefs, activists, policymakers, farmers and journalists convened for the New York Times’ Food for Tomorrow Conference at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.

In a conversation facilitated by Sam Sifton (New York Times food editor), with Tom Colicchio (Craft Restaurants and Co-Founder of Food Policy Action) and Andrea Reusing (Lantern and The Durham), Marcus discussed the divide between what comes out of urban America and what is in and of urban America, particularly when we think about food as an expression of art, culture and history.

Marcus first began thinking about this because he wanted to find purpose in being a chef in Harlem - a community where there is a huge divide between the pleasures of good food and access to a dining experience that celebrates the community’s art, history and culture. From the beginning, Marcus says, he was thinking about these dynamics when he opened Red Rooster.

As a result of the industrialized and modern food system, the working poor have gained the convenience of cheap food, but it has come with a price. Marcus believes that we have traded the convenience of cheap food for the basic skills of cooking and preparing foods. In other words, we now have an entire generation of people lacking the knowledge and skills needed to prepare food for themselves and are, instead, stuck in a food system that has removed agency by marketing cheap food that is conveniently making us sick. Whether or not this trade-off was an intentional decision we made, is not the point. The point is that we are facing major consequences as a result of the design of our food system and we have to begin to think about how to combat the challenges together, as a community. Tom Colicchio agreed with Marcus and added, “We need to educate a population. We are a generation removed from actually having any skills at all in the kitchen and knowing where food comes from.”

While we need radically different policies in our food system in order to create access to healthy foods for the working poor, there are significant solutions that we can implement in our own neighborhoods to change the way people are thinking about food. “My food memories growing up, aside from my family, come from the lunches that I had at school where I really actually started to develop a real sense of flavor because it was real food - not what we have right now,” says Marcus. Imagine if, as Marcus suggests, the lunchroom actually resembled the complexity of flavors in America’s diverse population and we were serving children real food while simultaneously educating them about how to prepare it.

“The beauty of America,” as Marcus points out, “is that we are so complex and so different. We are one of the few countries in the world that don’t have one food identity. That is the beauty and also the complexity.” By intentionally evoking interest in flavor and ingredients, we could potentially have a fully engaged population who is intrigued by real food and has baseline knowledge about the food system. A generation that can cook will raise the awareness that we need in order to prioritize what is important for the environment, our communities and ourselves.

You can view all of the videos from the New York Times’ Food for Tomorrow Conference here.

Clinton Global Initiative - Call to Action

During last month's Clinton Global Initiative, Marcus joined a panel of experts to discuss the role of food and nutrition in global poverty and specifically, how chefs might be catalysts for change. Poverty in America, as Marcus puts it, affects people differently than it does in his home country of Ethiopia. In America, we have extreme wealth that disconnects us from our food because cooking with real ingredients is expensive and perceived as inefficient in our busy lives. However, if we take the time to learn how to cook, he argues, everyone in the community will benefit. Further, Marcus challenges the audience to cook and eat based on a spiritual compass - meaning, eat things that relate to your own personal history and values. When we eat foods that are whole and seasonal, reusing ingredients throughout the week in order to avoid wasting food and overspending, we are satisfying our palate as well as our spiritual compass.

The strength in Marcus' approach is his understanding that in order to be successful, we all need the tools to create lasting change in our own lives. Part of the reason that Marcus opened Red Rooster in Harlem was to not just change the restaurant footprint in the neighborhood, but to also highlight the complexities of poverty and malnutrition that exist in his own community. Watch Marcus discuss these issues in the video below or watch more videos from the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative here.

Streetbird Rotisserie is Officially Open!

Photo courtesy of Eye Swoon I am thrilled to announce that as of Thursday, April 2nd, Streetbird Rotisserie is open to the public. Thanks to everyone who came out last week and over the weekend, it's been an incredible few days and I'm glad you could all be a part of it.

For the first few weeks, we'll be doing "Spring Training" and offering a limited menu. Some of my favorites include the Notti Greens, Sho' Nuff Noodles, the Swediopian, and of course, the Rotisserie Chicken. Hope to see you in soon!

Streetbird Rotisserie 2149 Frederick Douglass New York, NY Hours: 11:30am - 10pm

Marcus Off Duty Nominated for a James Beard Award

Off  Duty Cover Exciting news: my latest cookbook, Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home, was just nominated for a James Beard Award! It is such an honor to see this book, full inspiration from friends and family and my reflections on chasing flavors, recognized by an organization as celebrated as the James Beard Foundation.

The nominations were announced this morning; Marcus Off Duty is one of three nominees in the General Cooking category. The full list of James Beard Foundation Book Awards nominees is below.

 

 

2015 James Beard Foundation Book Awards

For books published in English in 2014. Winners will be announced on April 24, 2015 at the Book,Broadcast & Journalism Awards Dinner on April 24th at Pier Sixty here in New York.

American Cooking

Heritage Sean Brock (Artisan)

The New England Kitchen: Fresh Takes on Seasonal Recipes Erin Byers Murray and Jeremy Sewall (Rizzoli New York)

Texas on the Table: People, Places, and Recipes Celebrating the Flavors of the Lone Star State Terry Thompson-Anderson (University of Texas Press)

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Baking and Dessert

Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere Dorie Greenspan (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Della Fattoria Bread: 63 Foolproof Recipes for Yeasted, Enriched & Naturally Leavened Breads Kathleen Weber (Artisan)

Flavor Flours: A New Way to Bake with Teff, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Other Whole & Ancient Grains, Nuts & Non-Wheat Flours Alice Medrich (Artisan)

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Beverage

Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails, with More than 500 Recipes Alex Day, Nick Fauchald, and David Kaplan (Ten Speed Press)

Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail Dave Arnold (W. W. Norton & Company)

Sherry: A Modern Guide to the Wine World's Best-Kept Secret, with Cocktails and Recipes Talia Baiocchi (Ten Speed Press)

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Cooking from a Professional Point of View

Bar Tartine: Techniques & Recipes Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns (Chronicle Books)

Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef Massimo Bottura (Phaidon Press)

Relæ: A Book of Ideas Christian F. Puglisi (Ten Speed Press)

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Focus on Health

A Change of Appetite: Where Healthy Meets Delicious Diana Henry (Mitchell Beazley)

Cooking Light Mad Delicious: The Science of Making Healthy Food Taste Amazing Keith Schroeder (Oxmoor House)

Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans Henry Fong and Michelle Tam (Andrews McMeel Publishing)

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General Cooking

The Kitchn Cookbook: Recipes, Kitchens & Tips to Inspire Your Cooking Faith Durand and Sara Kate Gillingham (Clarkson Potter)

Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home Marcus Samuelsson (Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Saveur: The New Classics Cookbook The Editors of Saveur (Weldon Owen)

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International

The Cuban Table: A Celebration of Food, Flavors, and History Ana Sofía Peláez (St. Martin’s Press)

My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories David Lebovitz (Ten Speed Press)

Yucatán: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition David Sterling (University of Texas Press)

Photography

In Her Kitchen: Stories and Recipes from Grandmas Around the World Gabriele Galimberti (Clarkson Potter)

A New Napa Cuisine Photographer: Jen Munkvold and Taylor Peden (Ten Speed Press)

Sherry: A Modern Guide to the Wine World's Best-Kept Secret, with Cocktails and Recipes Photographer: Ed Anderson (Ten Speed Press)

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Reference and Scholarship

Butchering Poultry, Rabbit, Lamb, Goat, and Pork: The Comprehensive Photographic Guide to Humane Slaughtering and Butchering Adam Danforth (Storey Publishing)

Inventing Baby Food: Taste, Health, and the Industrialization of the American Diet Amy Bentley (University of California Press)

The Spice & Herb Bible (Third Edition) Ian and Kate Hemphill (Robert Rose)

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Single Subject

Bitter: A Taste of the World's Most Dangerous Flavor, with Recipes Jennifer McLagan (Ten Speed Press)

Charcutería: The Soul of Spain Jeffrey Weiss (Agate Surrey)

Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World's Most Versatile Ingredient Michael Ruhlman (Little, Brown and Company)

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Vegetable Focused and Vegetarian

At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen: Celebrating the Art of Eating Well Amy Chaplin (Roost Books)

Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London's Ottolenghi Yotam Ottolenghi (Ten Speed Press)

Vegetarian Dinner Parties: 150 Meatless Meals Good Enough to Serve to Company Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein (Rodale Books)

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Writing and Literature

The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of Our Food Ted Genoways (HarperCollins Publishers)

The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu Dan Jurafsky (W. W. Norton & Company)

The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food Dan Barber (Penguin Press)

The winner of the Cookbook of the Year Award and the Cookbook Hall of Fame inductee will be announced on April 24, 2015.