This year's chefs & champagne honoree, culinary giant Marcus Samuelsson, brings his diverse flavors and irresistible charm to the James Beard foundation event.
Marcus Samuelsson will be preparing dishes that combine his Mexican, Ethiopian, and Southern influences, like his tasty Addis taco.
How does it feel to be saluted at this year’s Chefs & Champagne? MARCUS SAMUELSSON: I am so honored to be recognized by the James Beard Foundation in this way. When I think about the list of previous recipients, I see so many incredible forces in the industry. I think about [Daniel] Boulud, Julia [Child], Jacques [Pépin]. It’s so humbling to join the list of prestigious names— and all for a great cause, to support culinary education.
With so many great chefs involved, whose food are you most excited to taste? MS: All of them! Alex Guarnaschelli is always a favorite, the North Fork Table & Inn is great, Virginia’s is exciting, and I have to get my hands on some Pig Beach barbecue.
What are you cooking this summer? MS: We’re thinking of doing something from Red Rooster Harlem and something from Streetbird Rotisserie. We’ll probably have a mix of seafood and grill meats. Come hungry!
What is your fondest memory of the East End? MS: East Hampton reminds me a lot of my childhood growing up in Sweden, being by the water and out in nature. I love fishing, cooking outdoors, and experiencing the slower pace of things.
Where do you get the freshest produce in the Hamptons? MS: I like to hop around to farmers markets for the freshest ingredients. Nothing beats that.
If you hosted a fantasy beachside dinner, who would be at the table? MS: David Bowie, for sure. He taught me so much about being different and being okay with it. I would also have the soccer player Diego Maradona, Miss Leah Chase from New Orleans, and Nelson Mandela. Chefs & Champagne takes place Saturday, July 29, at Wölffer Estate Vineyard, 183 Sagg Road, Sagaponack, 631-537-5106. Visit jamesbeard.org for tickets and info.