How I Got to Cook with Chef Marcus Samuelsson
Chef Marcus Samuelsson just released his new cookbook The Red Rooster Cookbook, named after his restaurant in Harlem. With this release began his cookbook tour with the first stop in the Bay Area. I signed up to get tickets to his cooking demonstration held at Macy’s in Union Square in San Francisco. The department store has a Culinary Council made up of well known chefs throughout the United States and includes Chef Marcus.
Sitting in the center of row two with my best friend, we had prime seats to watch Chef Marcus cook. The first item he was going to demo was a squash salad with crunchy quinoa and pumpkin seed vinaigrette. He asked for a volunteer and I hesitated. A woman in the first row was selected to come up and help. She was doing really well prepping the salad and I was regretting not raising my hand to volunteer. About halfway through the demo, the audience got to taste this salad that was obviously prepared earlier. I really enjoyed the toasted quinoa. Chef Marcus stressed the importance of crunch, texture, and using seasonal ingredients. Towards the end of the demo, the volunteer cut her finger. I imagined that would be the end of volunteering.
The next dish Chef Marcus started to make was Double Dragon Rice with Grilled Shrimp. A few minutes later, he announced there would be no cutting involved, but he needed another volunteer. My hand shot up and I was selected to cook with Chef Marcus. I felt a bit nervous at first because I felt like I was being interviewed. We discussed a fried rice dish that I make using chicken livers. Although it may have looked planned because they actually had chicken liver, I vow that it was not. My sous chef handed me a ramekin filled with chicken liver and Chef Samuelsson asked me to mix in half of it into my pan. The rice was prepared with loads of other goodies that contributed to the overall success of the dish. I especially liked the crispy pieces of golden browned rice, the fresh head-on shrimp, and the squeeze of lime that added acidity. I was given a nice portion of the Double Dragon Rice with Grilled Shrimp that Chef Marcus and I made. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of it. But here is a photo of me cooking it.
I was still pinching myself when Chef Marcus called a third volunteer to assist him in making Uncle T’s Meatballs. The sample we received was a bit dry which is probably because it was made much earlier and may have been sitting around.
I’m excited to try some of these recipes and others from my new personalized autographed copy of The Red Rooster Cookbook by Chef Marcus Samuelsson.