This week's Special Sauce features Chef Marcus Samuelsson, whose restaurant, The Red Rooster, is arguably ground zero of the Harlem food and drink renaissance.
I found Marcus's story so inspiring and moving that I decided it merited two episodes. In fact, this is the first interview I've done for the show that has brought me to tears.
In this week's episode, you'll hear about how his mom carried him and his sister 75 miles to a hospital in Ethiopia while they all suffered from tuberculosis. Marcus and his sister survived the epidemic, but their mother did not, and he is still haunted by the fact that he's never seen a picture of his mom. You'll also hear how Marcus discovered that his father, who he thought had died during Ethiopia's civil war, was still alive; this was years after he had found a new home with his adoptive Swedish family.
You'll hear that when Marcus first started cooking in restaurants, he would throw up before service every night; also, that when he decided to come to America, he wrote letters to Oprah Winfrey and David Letterman saying, "You should open a restaurant with me, you should bet on me." Unsurprisingly, they didn't respond. (Marcus admits, "It was the biggest Hail Mary, ever.")
Finally, you'll hear Marcus reveal the secret to his Swedish meatballs, which are the only good Swedish meatballs I've ever had.
There's so much more to Marcus's remarkable story, so tune in to part one of this extraordinary interview.
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