Few have succeeded in becoming as famous as Marcus Samuelsson as a cook and gastronome. As head chef at the Red Rooster in Harlem, New York, he is also a successful writer who has published four cookbooks to date.
Samuelsson, who is internationally known, is also popular for his appearances as Inner Chef and Top Chef with Marcus Samuelsson. Interestingly, he is a visiting professor at the Umea University of International Culinary Science.
Over the years, the chef has won several awards, including the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef: New York City” award in 2003. The New York Times awarded him a three-star restaurant review in the early 1990s, making him the youngest recipient ever. Moreso received the four-star rating from Forbes magazine several times in a row. Moreover, several of President Barack’s and First Lady Michelle Obama’s remarkable projects had the signature of Samuelsson. He is on the board of the Careers Through Culinary Arts program and ambassador for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.
Early Life and Rise to Fame
Marcus Samuelsson was born on 25 January 1971 in a village in Ethiopia, the son of his Ethiopian parents. At the age of 3 years, a Swedish couple adopted him and his sister Fantaye Tsegie after his mother’s death.
He attended the Culinary Institute in Göteborg (Gothenburg) and then went on to teach in Austria and Switzerland. In 1991 Samuelsson moved to the USA for an eight-month internship at the Aquavit restaurant. At the end of his time there he joined a Swedish cruise ship but returned in 1994 to work under the Executive Chef, Jan Sendel. Barely eight weeks later Jan Sendel died, leaving a vacant position for which – not surprisingly – Mr. Samuelsson was chosen.
Marcus began to develop a passion for cooking amazing meals after watching his grandmother cook various dishes. She was a cook and taught him how to prepare ginger snaps, cookies, and meatballs and how to put fresh vegetables in them. His love and appreciation for local fresh food came from this side. Regarding spices, Marcus revealed that this love came from his family down in Ethiopia.
At the age of 14/15, he worked in a professional kitchen for the first time. His father encouraged him to follow his passion but made sure he was precise. This made the cook realize that he had to improve every day. Samuelsson also worked in a number of small restaurants and a local bakery. It’s no wonder that he has a golden touch.
Marcus Samuelsson’s Wife (Maya Haile)
Samuelsson married Maya Haile, a model, in 2009. Maya was born in Ethiopia and grew up in the Netherlands. The model stands at 5 feet 9 inches.
Marcus and Maya had a wedding at their destination in Ethiopia with a large number of Maya’s family members present. They enjoyed the rich African culture of food and other delicacies of the ceremony.
The couple lives with their son in Harlem, New York, where two of Samuelsson’s twelve restaurants are also located.
His Daughter and Parents
Marcus Samuelsson had a daughter, Zoe, before he married his wife. Zoe is a grown woman now.
At the tender age of three, Samuelsson lost his biological mother to the then tuberculosis epidemic in Ethiopia. His father, who still lives in Marcus’ birthplace – an Ethiopian village – is an orthodox Tewahedo church priest. He was separated from his family due to the unrest of the Ethiopian civil war in 1974.
Samuelsson’s real name is Kassahun Tsegie, it was changed after his adoption by Ann Marie and Lennart Samuelsson. His older sister was also adopted by the same white couple. Ann is a housewife, while Lennart is a geologist. The duo, who used to live in Gothenburg, Sweden, has another adopted daughter, Anna Samuelsson.
Marcus Samuelsson’s Net Worth
According to various sources, the gastronome and Ethiopian-Swedish cook have an estimated net value of 5 million dollars. Thanks to his restaurants, among them:
- Marcus B & P (Newark)
- Harlem Streetbird Rotisserie (Harlem)
- Marcus Bermuda
- Red Rooster (Harlem)
- Ginny’s Supper Club
- Red Rooster Shoreditch (London)
- Tienda Roosteria (London)
- Uptown Brasserie (New York)
- Kitchen & Table (Manhattan)
- Nordia Bar & Grill
- Eatery Social
- Marc Burger
Height – How Tall Is He?
Although we have not yet confirmed the height of Marcus Samuelsson, he is not a very tall man. His wife, Maya, is taller than he is because she’s 5’8″. Well, love conquers all, even height!