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.