Luckily, some seats were saved for media and I was able to get a seat with a good view of the action. As soon as he took the stage, Samuelsson charmed the crowd with his wining smile and personality.
The Samuelsson cooking demo menu included:
- Crab cake with grapefruit and frisee
- Shrimp and Dirty Rice
- Yard bird (spicy fried chicken)
The theme throughout the demo was using things to stretch your food dollar, or, poor man’s cooking. For example, he used potatoes as an extender for the crab cakes. He also loves to use rice with left overs: vegetables or meat.
He shared with the audience he loves to do what he can to encourage kids to enjoy cooking. He has donated to the YMCA cooking school. And he offers weekly kids cooking classes at his restaurant. Not that he wants them to grow up to be chefs, but he believes in the skills it teaches them: counting, responsibilty, teamwork.
Throughout the demo Chef Samuelsson gave us a few memorable quotes:
- “Telling your family history through food is one of the best things you can do.”
- “Food is one of the best ways to look into another culture.”
- “Eating with a spiritual compass is very important.”
- What Obama loved at Red Rooster: Cornbread
- Favorite Food Country: Japan
- Go to dish: Swedish Meatballs
We are glad to hear that his restaurant, Red Rooster, in Harlem, continues to flourish. He says he has three guests: The out of towner, the New Yorker, and the Harlemite. Totally putting it on my list for my next trip to NYC!