Only a few have been able to find fame as a chef and restaurateur like Marcus Samuelsson. Being the head chef at Red Rooster in Harlem, New York, he is also a successful writer having released four cookbooks to date.
Samuelsson who is renowned internationally is also popular for his appearances on 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 ‘Best Chef: New York City’ in 2003, from the James Beard Foundation. New York Times gave him a three-star restaurant review in the early 90s making him the youngest ever to receive it. Moreso, he has received Forbes magazine’s four-star ratings consecutive times. More so, several of President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama’s notable projects had the touch of Samuelsson. He is on the board of directors of the Careers Through Culinary Arts program and the U.S Fund for UNICEF ambassador.
Early Life and Rise to Fame
Marcus Samuelsson was born on 25th January 1971 in a village in Ethiopia to his Ethiopian parents. At the age of 3, a Swedish couple adopted him and his sister, Fantasie Tsegie following the death of his mother.
Marcus attended the Culinary Institute in Gothenburg (Göteborg) then went on to be an apprentice in both Austria and Switzerland. In 1991, Samuelsson moved to the U.S for an eight-month apprenticeship in Restaurant Aquavit. At the end of his time there, he joined a Sweden cruise ship but returned in 1994 to work under the Executive Chef, Jan Sendel. Barely eight weeks later, Jan died and left a vacant post which not surprisingly, Mr. Samuelsson was chosen to fill.
Marcus began to grow a passion for cooking amazing meals after watching his grandmother cook a variety of meals. She was a chef and taught him how to make gingersnaps, cookies, meatballs as well as how to pickle fresh vegetables. His love and appreciation of local fresh foods came from this side. On spices, Marcus revealed that this love came from his family down in Ethiopia.
His first time working in a professional kitchen was at the age of 14/15. His father encouraged him to follow his passion but ensure that he was precise at it. This has made the Chef conscious of improving himself daily. 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 got married to Maya Haile, a model, in 2009. Maya was born in Ethiopia and brought up in the Netherlands. The model stands at 5 feet 9 inches.
Marcus and Maya had a destination wedding in Ethiopia and had a great number of Maya’s family members in attendance. They enjoyed the rich African culture of food and other ceremony tidbits.
The couple lives with their son in Harlem, New York where two of Samuelsson’s twelve restaurants are also based.
His Daughter and Parents
Marcus Samuelsson had a daughter, Zoe, before getting married to his wife. Zoe is now a grown-up lady.
At the very tender age of three, Samuelsson lost his biological mum to the Tuberculosis epidemic in Ethiopia at the time. 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 1974 Ethiopian civil war turmoil.
Samuelsson’s real name is Kassahun Tsegie, it got changed following his adoption by Ann Marie and Lennart Samuelsson. His elder sister was also adopted by the same white couple. Ann is a homemaker 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
The restaurateur and Ethiopian-Swedish chef, according to various sources, has an estimated net worth of $6 million. Thanks to his restaurants which include:
- 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 are yet to confirm Marcus Samuelsson’s height, he is not a very tall man. His wife, Maya, is taller than him as she is 1.8 m tall. Well, love conquers all, height inclusive!