Scenes from a Memorable Weekend

What a way to wrap up the weekend. While Maya and I hightailed it to Sweden to attend Princess Madeleine's wedding (to Chris O'Neill), here in New York our Rooster family joined in on the annual Sundae Sermon featuring our house DJ Stormin' Norman. If you haven't heard of Sundae Sermon (or want to attend the next one), its mission is to support the spirit and strengthen the Harlem community by promoting healthy living, and environmental and educational development with parents and their children. With such beautiful weather we had on Sunday, it was nice to see the images of people coming out with their families to enjoy each other's company amidst some great music.

Princess Madeleine Wedding, Swedish royal wedding, Chris O'Neill, Maya Haile

Over in Sweden, Maya and I were honored to be invited to this historic event. With so many royal members in town from Monaco, Britain, Japan and so many more, it was a feast for the eyes and the stomach. Maya hammed it up with the guards lining the red carpet (see above), and it was nice to sit back and not have to worry about what was happening in the kitchen. The food was great, the ceremony was exquisite and Maya and Princess Madeleine looked stunning in custom made Valentino gowns, who also attended the festivities.

Here's a look at some photos from the weekend:


For more stories from Sweden:

A Sweet Treat for Swedish National Day Swedish Midsummer with the Rooster Crew Swedish Princess Cake Recipe King and Queen of Sweden Visit Red Rooster The Food Swedes Eat

Three Goats Inaugural Fundraiser a Huge Success

maya haile, marcus samuelsson, three goats, cocktail party The story of Three Goats began in November 2011, when Maya visited Ethiopia after reading about the water-crisis and resulting famine that was affecting her and Marcus's birthplace. In an effort to provide relief to the devastated areas, they quickly organized a Brunch for the Famine in The Horn of Africa to raise money for much-needed resources. Maya flew to Addis Ababa and visited Mother Teresa’s Missonaries for Charity where they advised her on the greatest area of need for clean water and food. Knowing the dangers of traveling in the region, Maya insisted on heading to Togowichale, a border town between Ethiopia and Somalia severely endangered by the famine to provide relief to nearly 1,000 people in the area. To thank her for her generosity, the people of Togowichale presented Maya with three goats. While she couldn’t take the animals back to the U.S., she brought back the idea to start Three Goats.

After witnessing this devastation, Maya and Marcus knew they couldn’t stay quiet about the issues affecting the borders of Ethiopia. While it would have been easier to find a charity that would allocate the money to this region, they both felt called to give back to the country they originally called home. With the creation of Three Goats, the charity can ensure that this critically under-resourced region receives the tools needed to thrive long after relief efforts fade. Three Goats’ (A 501(c)(3)) mission is dedicated to improving the health and education of children living at the boarders of Ethiopia by providing sustainable access to vital resources. The main goal is to empower young women through education and provide access to clean water and nutritious food.


Photos: Monika Sziladi

Thanks to the incredible support of friends, supporters and family, Maya and Marcus hosted their first ever inaugural cocktail party to roaring success. Guests munched on Lamb Kitfo with Ayib Cheese, mushroom dumplings and Doro Wat Steam Bun with Egg before moving on to enjoy the goat carving station, Helga's Meatballs, Catfish and Grits, and Mac N' Greens. Thanks to our incredible list of sponsors, wine, champagne, beer and cocktails (Cabrito and Illy-Goatini) flowed freely and mini cupcakes and sweet potato donuts rounded out the night. A few photos and another thank you for our incredible Honorary Host Committee and Sponsors for the evening.



three goats, sponsors, ginny's supper club

Behind the Scenes with Vogue Magazine

If you haven't caught the June issue of VOGUE magazine featuring Maya and Marcus and an excerpt from Yes, Chef, here's a look at some behind-the-scenes shots from that day. We had an early call for the photo shoot that morning--Vogue editors and interns nibbled on coffee and croissants while Marcus and Maya sifted through racks of Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss, Gucci, and too many designers to count. After some quick changes in the private dining room at Ginny's, Marcus settled for Acne (one of his favorite Swedish brands) and Paul Smith while Maya looked stunning in a Suno shirt and Duro Olowu pants. The main dining room at Rooster substituted for a makeup studio while Tim Rogers made sure hair was to perfection.To make things even more exciting, the staff at Red Rooster and Ginny's hustled around the extra 15 bodies that were present for sound checks and last minute construction in preparation to host Roberta Flack that night. Check out the gorgeous chaos that ensued that ended in two sublime performances. To pre-order copies of Yes, Chef, please click here.


Photos: Jeannette Park

Tuxes and Tiaras at the Met Ball and Childhood Foundation Gala

I always like to be out and about, but it's rare that I have the opportunity to don my best two nights in a row. I'm sure you heard about the Costume Institute's Met Ball (if you haven't, it's the fashion industry's night to get as wild and glamorous as they can be), and Maya and I were beyond thrilled to attend this year's opening of "Schiaperelli & Prada: Impossible Conversations".

We both wore Ralph Lauren (Maya looked impossibly stunning) and the scene was just fantastic. Bruno Mars performed (his renditions of "Dirty Diana" and "Roxanne" killed!) and I got to catch up with some of my favorite Knicks players: Amar'e, Carmelo, Tyson. We sat with Chelsea Handler and Andre Balazs, chatted with Kanye and Rick Ross, and I took this gorgeous photo of Maya with Queen B.

But before I could pack away my tux, Tuesday night was the World Childhood Foundation Gala dinner and Queen Silvia and Princess Madeleine of Sweden were the honored guests. Held at Gotham Hall, the atmosphere and tablescapes were fantastic and our team handled the menu for the night. (Who could believe a boy from Gburg would be cooking for the Queen of Sweden?) But I took in the moment and was very happy with how everything turned out. We served our cornbread with tomato jam, a beautiful spring asparagus dish, berbere chicken, fish and grits, and a decadent black and white mud cake.

But the night was truly about the money that was raised. Queen Silvia started the foundation in 1999 and has since raised nearly $60 million for education efforts for children in Lithuania, Latvia, Africa, Estonia, to name a few. And when we heard that a private dinner was auctioned off for $64K, we knew we were off to a good start.

A few behind-the-scenes shots from the gala:

For more photos of my events, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)

Maya's Trip to Ethiopia, Part III: Visiting the School

By: Maya Haile

Today I discuss the final part of my journey to Ethiopia. After giving out our donations at Togojalya, I decided to visit further deep into Somaliland. We were advised that since it was Muslim land that my arms and legs must be covered in order to be allowed to enter. I had just regular clothing so I had to improvise. I found a quick solution when we found a street tailor that could make me a quick garment. I bought the fabric and within a few moments, I had a handmade dress made from native fabric that I could wear when crossing the Muslim lands. I also had a scarf with me that I could wear, so I felt like I fit in. I was happy to be able to partake of the local culture at least with my clothing; especially being in Ethiopia and Somalia, since both cultures are so similar, so I was super happy to follow their culture.

When we went further into that area, we visited the children's school. But their school was nothing like we know a school to be, in fact it was technically just two trees. All of the children of the village, from ages 4-20, come and gather around these two trees to study the day's lessons. There is no house or building, they simply gather at the trees and bring their animals with them (the ones that they are in charge to take care of), which they let graze in the fields. The boys sit separate from the girls, and there are about 60 kids, so about 30 girls and 30 boys. They don't even have a teacher, instead an older child or teenager leads their group in reciting the alphabet and in counting numbers. Every child, no matter what age, repeats the same lesson the whole day and at the end of the day, they gather their animals and return home. They also will carry water with them home at that time too.

It was beautiful to see that the children of the village have some form of education, but it was disheartening to see that they had no school. The village also has no clinic. Some of the villagers told me that they would have to walk 30 kilometers (18 miles) to a nearby village or clinic for just pain-killers or Advil. Yet, these were some of the kindest and humblest people I have ever encountered. Even when we offered them the food donations, they got together and brought over 3 goats to give us as a present in gratitude for the food. Of course, we didn't accept them but even during their time of most need, they are still a very grateful people.

As an Ethiopian, I feel very lucky, not only to visit my homeland, but very lucky for the blessings I've had in my life. I've gotten the chance to live in Europe and in America, and I also have good friends and family that also care about where I came from and also want to help. I believe if we use our connections more, we can help more people, not only in Ethiopia, but in all parts of the world that are in such need of basic necessities like food, water, shelter, education, and health care. In our case, the government of Ethiopia was very open to our help and donations, so it was proof that helping others in need doesn't have to be that difficult.

I know that together we can someday help bring clean water and food to all those in need. I wish at this moment I could help those tribes better water and possibly build the children a school, and with support from our friends and good-hearted people we can hopefully do that soon!

For more information on the famine in the Horn of Africa, click here. Also visit here, for ways you can help.

Photos: Abraham Wolde of Balageru Records

A big thank you goes out to all of those that helped me in my journey, including the photographer and videographer Abraham Wolde, and all others who helped me bring aid to the most affected in Ethiopia. Thank you!

For more updates on the Horn of Africa, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)