Marcus Samuelsson has published a fantastic new cookbook titled New American Table. He also, along with the First Lady and White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford, helped design the menu for President and Michelle Obama's first state dinner on Nov. 24, 2009.
Q: Three words to describe New American Table?
Diversity, delicious, passion
Q: Is there still a need or a place for American comfort foods?
Absolutely, always! What we're seeing in restaurants and cookbooks now is different versions of comfort food but comfort food nonetheless.
Q: What inspires you every day?
Many things. I stand on the pillars of my grandmother and mother. When things are going tough for me, I remember all of their hard work and commitment and it helps me push forward. I'm also inspired by the untold stories behind American food.
Q: If you were stuck on an island and had to eat the same thing every day, what would you choose?
Lots of fresh, raw fish – what else? I’d be eating very well every day.
Q: Favorite places to travel?
A: I love Addis, Singapore and Stockholm.
Q: Advice for the new cook/beginning cook? How can I get started?
In anything you do, it’s important to work hard and be truly passionate about your work. It’s also important to work with several different chefs throughout your career and travel often so you can gain a lot of experience both in the kitchen and out. Also, work on developing your own point of view in terms of taste yet stay humble.
Q: Top 3 must-haves in any kitchen!
A: A good stove, cookware set and a well-stocked pantry.