Marcus Samuelsson was born Kassahun Tsegie but when he was three years old, his mother succumbed to a tuberculosis epidemic that led to his adoption by another family who changed his name to Samuelsson.
His love for the continent seems to be shared with his birth father who still lives in Ethiopia. Marcus visits often and he says that; “Every time I go to Ethiopia, I’m part of a tribe. When you’re African, it’s clear your part of a tribe. It gives me more power and purpose to come back here to work even harder.”
He has been regarded as one of the most successful chefs of his time where at the age of 24 he had become an executive chef at Aquavit.
His passion for his work earned him the three-star review from the New York Times. Among other accolades, he has managed to cut a niche for himself in a market that is crowded by many enthusiasts.
He explains: “Success and life is not a bus stop. Every day we’re in here with critical eyes going how can we make it better. It’s not as we’re here and say oh we made it, no.
“I love the head on the challenge. We try to improve and leave it better for the next generation…that’s what all of this is essentially is about.”
His achievements have not only been realized in the Kitchen but also in the writing field where he has managed to write award-winning novels and his topics are related to his work.
He believes in the power of dreaming big in life:“Dream big, dream a lot and go for it.”
His accolades are a result of his hard work and resilience, as Marcus puts it “It was that combination of dreaming and putting a path and a plan together.”
Judging by the number of books to his name, Marcus has enjoyed a lot of fame as he has been called upon to feature in so many films among other appearances.
Despite his fame and success, Africa has always remained in his heart. In fact, his wedding was held in Ethiopia where he got married to Maya Haile, model with whom he resides in Harlem.
For Marcus, “Africa, adoption, is a very touchy subject, but aspirations and family are always complex, and it’s layered. My wife and I are inspired to do more.
We have a home in Ethiopia, makes me want to go back even more. We’re connected to Ethiopia; a week doesn’t go by that we’re not thinking or talking about Ethiopia.”
Marcus believes in commitment and destiny as a way of influencing one’s life; he says, “My journey prepared me to be here. It is my purpose to be here in Harlem.
I’m very clear on my focus and purpose. I don’t want to trade one thing about my experience cause it has all lead me to where I am today. Where we can grow in this community and provide more jobs.”
This is a blog post by EbonyLife TV.