“The most important thing is to document your food narrative,” Chef Marcus Samuelsson said last night during his demo for his latest cookbook, The New American Table. Chef Samuelsson, who is chef/owner of Aquavit and Riingo and is also a member of ICE culinary’s Advisory Board, took a packed house of ICE Culinary alumni, students and guests on a culinary adventure across the globe. Standing casually behind the stove, Chef Samuelsson talked about his childhood journey into the professional world of food, during which he made the move from his homeland of Sweden to the United States.
“I always wanted to stay connected to Sweden, even the further I moved away toward America,” he said. “Food was that connection.” In a fusion of worldly cuisines, Chef Samuelsson prepared two dishes for the audience, which included Hawaiian-inspired Fried Yellowtail Poke with Wasabi Rouille and Doro Wat, a traditional Ethiopian dish.
Chef Samuelsson chatted with the audience as he reminisced about the transformation of his palette from growing up in Sweden to going global. He recalled tastes of galangal, mole and traditional miso soup as his first memories of his expanding palette that grew as he traveled the world.
“I want to do flavor-driven food, not technique-driven food,” he said. “The New American Table is a celebration of diversity with a really open food dialogue.” The book is packed with recipes inspired by flavors from across the globe and pictures that capture both the beauty of food and the uniqueness of American traditions and people.
Chef Samuelsson prepared the Hawaiian-inspired fried poke (picture on the left) by tossing yellowtail with sesame oil, shallots, ginger and fresh lime juice. The mixture was rolled sushi-style then seared and served with a combination of wasabi, garlic and chili powder. Chef Samuelsson discussed having roots both in Sweden and Ethiopia as he made the Doro Wat (pictured on the right), which consisted of a chicken and onion stew flavored with garlic, cardamom and berbere (a chili blend akin to salt and pepper in European cooking). The stew was plated atop traditional Ethiopian bread and served with a hardboiled egg and cottage cheese.
By evening’s end, the audience was clearly satisfied on the culinary front, but Chef Samuelsson stayed to greet guests and talk candidly about his recent experience cooking a State Dinner at The White House.
Marcus Samuelsson is chef/owner of Aquavit and Riingo in New York City. He is a member of the ICE Culinary Advisory Board, is an ambassador for UNICEF and is also an active participant in Careers through Culinary Arts (C-CAP). Chef Samuelsson is the author of The Soul of a New Cuisine (Wiley, 2006) and The New American Table (Wiley, 2009).