Red Rooster Honored with MHCC Hospitality Award

In front of a crowd of 250 NYC executives and business owners, Red Rooster Harlem was honored with the 2012 Restaurant and Hospitality Award from the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. The annual breakfast, given every year in honor of those who have built outstanding businesses and contributed to the economy and community, was originally scheduled for October of last year but was postponed due to Hurricane Sandy. The devastation that the city and our outer boroughs faced served as a reminder of how important it is for NYC businesses to rally together and help each other in times of need.

With a nod to Danny Meyer and Jane Rosenthal, who won the New Yorker of the Year and Cultural Achievement Award, respectively, Marcus was there to accept the award on behalf of Red Rooster, along with business partner Andrew Chapman. Speaking about the importance of neighbors and the resilience of the city, Marcus was humbled by the strength of the many small and mid-size businesses who were also there accepting awards.

Congratulations go out to the hard-working staff at Red Rooster!

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Food and People: Corsica

In Corsica, France, every bit of color pops against the centuries-old stone buildings, streets, and walls: the vibrant green of a bush, a brightly painted door, pungent dried onions. This small island is in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea between France and Italy, and has a mixed cultural heritage from both of its neighbors. French, Italian, and a Romance language, Corsican, are spoken there today. There has always been a strong emphasis on preserving things that are uniquely Corsican, especially when it comes to food.

For example, you can still buy Coca-Cola, but a tasty Corsican-made cola product is also generally available. Delicious Corsican beers and wines are similarly popular, and not just with locals. The regional beers are a must. These sensational crafts you won't find anywhere else.

Keep your eyes peeled for the local pigs -- though domesticated, they are semi-wild and let loose to forage for parts of the year. This lifestyle produces quite delectable pig and boar meats found on a typical Corsican charcuterie plate. Also, don't miss traditional Corsican chestnut dishes or the olive oil, which is gathered from the ripe fruits fallen underneath the olive tree that results in intense flavor.

The stunning landscape ranges from pleasantly urban winding streets and vast coastal panoramas, providing a splendid array of views. Most famous, perhaps, are the spectacular Corsican beaches. This variety makes for days filled with invigorating outdoor activities, such as hiking, sailing, and, of course, eating on restaurant patios.

The Mediterranean sunlight is like a rose-colored filter -- the charm of Corsica extends from the food to the views to the people.

Every Thursday, we'll be posting snapshots from different spots around the world and encourage you to do the same. You can share your photos by emailing us at FoodandPeople@SamuelssonGroup.com You can also submit a post on Tumblr which we review before posting our favorites here on MarcusSamuelsson.com

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Food and People: Bhutan

The peaceful tradition of Bhutan is more than a historical fact - it is a way of life. The country is self-proclaimed place of calm and tranquility.

The streets are filled with vivid signs of the country's rich cultural heritage. Color is bursting from every stairway, door, and street. A parade filled with people in traditional bird-costume goes by and, not far away, a woman weaves a stunningly brilliant textile.

The everyday lives of the Bhutanese seem dignified rather than out of date. Even their cooking approach is extremely simple, with most dishes seasoned only with chili and salt. This method, however plain it may seem, yields fantastically rich dishes, such as pork, mushroom, and chili stew, served alongside rice or noodles. This dazzling blend is a perfect accompaniment to the crisp, unpolluted air so rare in the rest of the world.

Most Butanese citizens are Buddhist, and there is a delightful emphasis is on the achievement and maintenance of happiness.  Rather than measuring a national GDP, the government attempts to measure the Gross National Happiness of its citizens. There is also high value placed on the environment and keeping up local traditions.

Cheese is another local love, whether it be from cow or yak's milk. There really is nothing quite comparable to the bitter tang of yak's milk and its products, which include yogurt, butter, and a variety of cheeses. However, these delicacies are only made during the part of the year that the yaks are able to grade on the fertile mountain slopes.

Bhutan is a feast not only for the senses, but for the soul!

Every Thursday, we'll be posting snapshots from different spots around the world and encourage you to do the same. You can share your photos by emailing us at FoodandPeople@SamuelssonGroup.com You can also submit a post on Tumblr which we review before posting our favorites here on MarcusSamuelsson.com

Click on any photo to view in slideshow mode.

Food and People: Rio de Janiero

Traveling always affords a cultural experience, but travelling to Brazil is also a colorful experience.  The fruit stalls in Rio de Janiero burst with colors.  Fuschia bananas, ripe for eating are packed next to peppers of every hue.

The markets feature the entire spectrum of visible colors, offering the freshest fruit I've ever tasted.  The best way to taste the fruits of Brazil is at one of the ubiquitous sucos or juice bars.

Pair your suco with a little sandwich or hamburger for an impromptu meal.  Rio's residents aren't out at fancy sit down restaurants, most of the time they have a carefree and casual bite to eat with a refreshing and healthy suco on the side.

My favorite was a bright purple concoction made from acai, honey and banana.  After a night out enjoying Rio's famed nightlife, this sweet and refreshing drink hits the spot.  For a supercharged morning pick-me-up, ask for a juice blended with guarana, a berry containing caffeine.  After drinking a guarana suco blended with melon and mango I didn't miss my morning coffee at all.

Every Thursday, we'll be posting snapshots from different spots around the world and encourage you to do the same. You can share your photos by emailing us at FoodandPeople@SamuelssonGroup.com You can also submit a post on Tumblr which we review before posting our favorites here on MarcusSamuelsson.com

Click on any photo to view in slideshow mode.

Food and People: Cuba

The food exceeded expectations; the fusion of Spanish and Caribbean influences in the cuisine produces delicious, savory food that satisfies.

I learned quickly that there's nothing like Cuban coffee in the morning.  It's brewed strong, aromatic, and super sweet.  Served with a ton of sugar, every Cuban person takes pride in the Cuban coffee they make.

I enjoyed pastelitos, little Cuban pastries, in the morning with my coffee.  The flaky exterior gaves way to a warm cheese or guava filling.

With my rice and beans, I enjoyed the many preparations of platanos, or plantains.  They can be served fried as chips or as maduros.  These sauteed sweet plantains taste fantastic - like a better banana.

Perhaps my favorite taste of Cuba was a croqueta de Jamon.  When I bite into this unassuming savory treat I discovered much more than its fried exterior.  They're crispy like a mozzarella stick on the outside, and inside I discovered a ham filling the texture of mashed potatoes.

Food is all around in Cuba.  From a vendor of tomatoes, to piles of coconuts waiting to become a coconut and rum flan, the colors and smells enchanted me.

Every Thursday, we'll be posting snapshots from different spots around the world and encourage you to do the same. You can share your photos by emailing us at FoodandPeople@SamuelssonGroup.com You can also submit a post on Tumblr which we review before posting our favorites here on MarcusSamuelsson.com

Click on any photo to view in slideshow mode.