New York Times Op-Ed by Marcus: Is Harlem 'Good' Now?


"For so long Harlem had just been an idea to me, found in books and music when growing up in Sweden and then working in France. It was Langston Hughes and Miles Davis, the Apollo and the Y, and Malcolm X sitting in a dark corner of Small’s Paradise. It was the center of black culture, the center of cool, a place so remote to me in Europe that I could hardly imagine it. Now I was here, feeling it."

For my full Op-Ed and accompanying photographs that appeared in the Sunday Review section of the February 16th New York Times, click here

Maysles Institute Benefit Dinner at Marcus's House

For those in attendance at the Maysles Institute benefit dinner, the mood was festive. The crowd included the entire Maysles clan (except Auralice who had just flown in from India), Kate and Andy Spade, the incomparable Iris Apfel awash in rich fall reds and yellows donning a flame red orange mohair bag, and an intimate handful of the institute's top donors and benefactors.

The event, held at Marcus's apartment, was given in honor to thank the Maysles's Institutes most generous and loyal supporters. The crowd sipped on St. Germain cocktails and Prosecco while sampling fresh shucked oysters with pomegranate seeds and fried chicken bites plated by chef, who was behind the stove all night long. As guests found their seats at a table decorated with Gillian's (Mrs. Maysles) best vintage tablecloth finds from eBay, they were treated to "Harrar to Addis Express" ramen with pork belly topped with Marcus's personal stash of Boston Bay jerk sauce, coffee roasted duck with foie gras mousse and brussel sprouts, and an Iris "Apple" Salad with farro and roasted apples, a favorite of the namesake guest.


Proving that it takes a team, the staff from the Maysles Institute were the servers of the night, pouring wine and dropping bowls of Gillian's homemade chocolate and strawberry ice cream with ginger pear whoopie pies in front of the guests.

Special thanks to the generous donors who have given their support to such an iconic and beloved center in Harlem who we consider our dear friends. And as always, very special thanks to the Maysles family for letting us be a part of such a fantastic and memorable night.


Close as Kin: The Art of Sharing Food and a Table

Perusing through the pages of a Kinfolk Magazine will transport you to a rustic fairytale of endless summer picnics that taste of freshly bottled honey, warm bread with jam placed upon long wooden family tables that seat up to twenty of your closest hungry friends. Getting swept up in the tranquility of it all is easy, and is precisely what founder Nathan Williams had in mind when he and a group of friends developed their exquisitely designed communal gatherings. We were able to snag a few precious moments with Williams to further explore the manifesto behind Kinfolk and why, more than ever, sharing good food, time and laughter with friends and family is a necessary life fulfillment.

How did the idea for the magazine come about? What was your inspiration? The idea of Kinfolk came about in a discussion with friends. We enjoyed getting together and sharing meals, and stories but didn't feel like there was anything out there to lend inspiration. We literally conceived the idea in the very act of being together, as a way to encourage ourselves and others to spend more time with each other (sans the pretense and stiffness that's often associated with entertaining).

How did the Kinfolk Dinner Series start? We saw an opportunity to walk the talk. We wanted to put our mission into action and reach out to local resources, to tap into the mutually benefiting connections and build community. We've found the outreach and participation from the communities we visit to be overwhelming and we hope to encourage similar movements to pop up in response.

What's your best food memory? Perhaps the best meal you ever ate or one dish that always reminds you of something or someone?

Fresh raspberries straight from the bush. My grandma always had so many berries and fruits and vegetables growing. One time I asked her why she continued to tend her garden since she wouldn't be around to reap all the progress. She responded that she doesn't do it for herself, but for others to enjoy in the future. I always remember her and this notion when I eat raspberries and remember that food is a way to show we care and to sustain each other.

How do you view the intersection between food and art? As far as Kinfolk goes, we try to visually create a feeling that would exist in an actual gathering with food and those we love. We want people to experience this emotion as they're flipping through the images and stories we share.

 Is your philosophy on entertaining -- simple, uncomplicated, less contrived -- a way that you were raised or was it born out of a need to make things simpler?

It's something I grew to see as an adult, enjoying time with friends over at our home. My wife and I have people over frequently and it didn't take long to realize that the moments that we remember most are those that are focused on the people and conversation, less distractions, and minimal stress.

What are a few must-haves when you entertain for a group, small or large? I think our attitude when we are in these situations is important. We must accept that we are going to be present and in the moment with those around us, giving undivided attention to others and really soaking in their company. This is a definite 'must-have.' Another would be a sense of humor. When we are in a social situation it's easy to get caught up in the idea of making things go right and everything running perfectly- but that isn't reality and when a cup gets knocked over, we need to know how to laugh.

Last supper? What would it be, where would you be, and who would it be with? A salmon feast with my family and close friends. My wife and I met while living near the ocean, we live near the ocean now, and my ideal last meal would be back at sea with those I love.

For more by Jeannette Park read here:

A Big Thank You to my Harlem Community

The rain came and went, but under the awning of the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater the party was in full swing. Literally. Swing dancers jumped and jived their way around the stage to a crowd that didn't seem to care about a few drops (and sometimes showers) pouring down. An electric Harlem crowd came out to celebrate the launch of Yes, Chef and what a celebration they got, thanks to all the participants that contributed to such a fantastic day. From the amazing singers of Vy Higgensen's Gospel for Teens to Martiza from Harvest Home--there were so many people who made this day memorable. You have supported me at Red Rooster and now with the launch of Yes, Chef, but none of this would have been possible without you. 

A very warm and heartfelt thank you goes out to:

DJ Qool Marv Dino Vigo Ben Barson and his band Maritza Owens of Harvest Home Farmer's Market Deborah Racicot for her yummy frozen treats The team at Morgan Stanley Smith for their contribution and support Lonn Coupel-Coward for his mocktail demonstrations Sylvia Clark and the Decadance group Michaela Angela Davis Harriette Cole Vy Higgensen and the amazing Gospel for Teens choir Alison Jones and the Harlem Swing Dance Society The Harlem Tap Studio with Omar Edwards Carey King with Corbin Hill Farm 

For more photos and a video of the Gospel for Teens choir performing at the Harlem Community Day, see below:

NYC Subway Series: Red Rooster at Yankee Stadium

Summertime without baseball in America is like the summer without lemonade. And although I’m more of a soccer buff than a baseball fan, I highly admire the sport so I was thrilled to visit Yankee Stadium this past Saturday. I went to serve up some Red Rooster baseball food for part of MasterCard’s Priceless NY program. We set up shop in the new Yankee Stadium’s Batter’s Eye Café with some Red Rooster versions of baseball sliders-- shredded lamb with mint yogurt, Berbere chicken with coleslaw and Swedish meatball sliders, as well as our famous sweet potato donuts.

Joining us were two veteran Yankees, David Cone and Lee Mazilli, signing autographs for fans and it was an honor to meet both of them. It was also truly great to see them interact with their fans, especially the kids. I love seeing how involved Americans are within sports and I think the athlete’s interaction with fans is so different in this country as compared to others; there is such a close connection that’s so inspiring to see.

I always jump at the chance to visit Yankee Stadium; it’s such a beautiful structure and I’m glad it’s located in the Bronx since that stretches out the City and allows people to come uptown and see a different part of NYC. Another great detail about Saturday’s game was that it was a Subway Series game, where the Yankees played the Mets, so the stadium was full of New York fans all around. Everyone wore their Yankee or Mets colors and cheered for their teams with so much pride--always a joy to see!

Check out some photos for the event below…

What’s your favorite baseball team?

Photos: Cyndi Amaya