The Multi-Cultural Story of Chef Marcus Samuelsson

Acclaimed Chef Marcus Samuelsson has been on the scene for years but his star just seems to be getting brighter and brighter while giving credit to his unique international upbringing in Ethiopia, Sweden and Harlem, NY.

His birth name is Kassahun Tsegie.  After his birth mother died in a tuberculosis epidemic when he was three years old, Kassahun Tsegie and his elder sister, Fantaye,were adopted by Ann Marie and Lennart Samuelsson, a homemaker and a geologist, who lived in Gothenburg, Sweden. The siblings’ names were changed to Marcus and Linda Samuelsson. They also have an adopted sister, Anna Samuelsson. Samuelsson’s biological father, Tsegie, is a priest and father of eight of the chef’s half-siblings; he still lives in the Ethiopian village where Samuelsson was born.

Samuelsson studied at the Culinary Institute in Gothenburg, where he grew up, apprenticed in Switzerland and Austria, and came to the United States in 1991 as an apprentice at Restaurant Aquavit. At 24, Marcus became executive chef of Aquavit, and soon after that became theyoungest ever to receive a three-star restaurant review from The New York Times.

Samuelsson has restaurants in Harlem(The Red Rooster) Gothenburg,Sweden(Norda) Costa Mesa and Chicago (MarcBurger) and more.  See Review of Red Rooster.

Click here to see Chef Samuelsson’s Honey Roasted Duck Recipe

Check out his Grandma Helga’s Swedish Meatball Recipe

Samuelson talks about the influence of Ethiopia, Sweden and United States on his Life.

Why Breast Feeding is Important

Early breast milk is liquid gold – Known as liquid gold, colostrum (coh-LOSS-trum) is the thick yellow first breast milk that you make during pregnancy and just after birth. This milk is very rich in nutrients and antibodies to protect your baby. Although your baby only gets a small amount of colostrum at each feeding, it matches the amount his or her tiny stomach can hold.

For most babies — especially premature babies — breast milk is easier to digest than formula. The proteins in formula are made from cow’s milk and it takes time for babies’ stomachs to adjust to digesting them. (Read More)

Black Moms in USA Tend to Stop Breast Feeding Earlier

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has researched breastfeeding among women and found that many black mothers don’t continue to breastfeed as long compared to other ethnic groups.  Data from a recent studycompares time frames of mothers who breastfed from birth through 12 months with information showing black mothers nationwide lack behind when it comes to breastfeeding.

Family Meal Time: The Importance of Eating Dinner Together

The family dinner table is the place where loved ones gather at the end of a long day, talk about school and work, make plans for the future and truly learn to enjoy and appreciate one another. It has been shown that kids whose families eat dinner together do better in school and are more socially well adjusted than their counterparts whose families do not partake of this same evening ritual. The more dinners consumed together, the better the outcomes. For example, a study conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, revealed that students who have two or fewer family meals per week are three times more likely to try marijuana, 2.5 times more likely to smoke cigarettes and 1.5 times more likely to start consuming alcohol, than those kids whose families eat together 5 or more times per week. The families who eat together less often are also more likely to have difficulty finding things to talk about and 45% of them leave the TV on while they are eating.(READ MORE)

How to Set the Table

Table manners play an important part in making a favorable impression. They are visible signals of the state of our manners and therefore are essential to professional success. The point of etiquette rules is to make you feel comfortable – not uncomfortable.

Use the silverware farthest from your plate first.

Here’s the Silverware and dinnerware rule:  Eat to your left, drink to your right. Any food dish to the left is yours, and any glass to the right is yours.

Starting with the knife, fork, or spoon that is farthest from your plate, work your way in, using one utensil for each course. The salad fork is on your outermost left, followed by your dinner fork. Your soup spoon is on your outermost right, followed by your beverage spoon, salad knife and dinner knife. Your dessert spoon and fork are above your plate or brought out with dessert. If you remember the rule to work from the outside in, you’ll be fine.(READ MORE For American & Continental/European Style)

Korean Table Setting

Rice, soup, a spoon and chopsticks are arranged from left to right, in that order for each person. Stews and side dishes are placed in the center to be shared by all.

Korean use a spoon to eat rice, soup and stews and chopsticks for rather dry side dishes, but the spoon and chopsticks are not used simultaneously. Koreans also do not hold their bowls or plates while eating. When the meal is over, the spoon and chopsticks are placed back down on the table.(READ MORE)

Chinese Table Place Setting includes:

  • a rice bowl
  • chopsticks
  • Chinese porcelain soup spoon
  • plate which is placed under the bowl and serves as a bone/discard plate
  • smaller sauce dish for a dipping sauce
  • tea cup

(Click Here to Learn about Chinese Dining & Etiquette)

How to Make Irish Coffee

Black coffee is poured into the mug. Whiskey and at least one level teaspoon of sugar is stirred in until fully dissolved. The sugar is essential for floating liquid cream on top.Thick cream is carefully poured over the back of a spoon initially held just above the surface of the coffee and gradually raised a little.  The layer of cream will float on the coffee without mixing. The coffee is drunk through the layer of cream.

To ensure the integrity of the ingredients of Irish Coffee, NSAI, Ireland’s national standards body, published an Irish Standard, I.S. 417 Irish Coffee, in 1988.

Tips on How to Travel to Cuba

Not every American can easily travel to Cuba; however, there are some ways to get around the

Vista Varadero calle

restrictions. Currently, journalists, academics and people with religious purposes are the few able to go to Cuba. The reason why it is not so easy to get to Cuba is because of the continuing prohibition of travel by the American government. Although, there is an opportunity in which few have knowledge like “People to People Trips.” READ MORE

West African Spicy Scotch Eggs Recipe

My dad was good friends with a Liberian gentleman and after coming home from a party he would bring my sister an I plate of African cuisine.  I loved the Scotch egg, at the time I didn’t know the name, but only that it was good.  However, the Scotch egg has its root in London and it is quite possible with an influence from India.  The spicy take on Scotch eggs has the West African influence as this dish is a staple in many of the countries of West Africa -Crystal J, MCCN Editor


  • 3 hard-cooked eggs – chilled
  • 1-cup spicy breakfast sausage meat
  • 1/4-cup flour
  • 1 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4-cup fine bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup of Chilli sauce
  • Vegetable oil for frying

See Directions

History of Girl Scout Cookies & Early Recipe

Girl Scout Cookies® maintain their humble beginnings in the kitchens and ovens of their early members. The earliest documentation of the sale of cookies being used to finance troop activities goes back to 1917.

It wasn’t until 1936, that troops began licensing local bakers to bake cookies. This led to many variations in cookies and cookie packaging. During the 1970’s, the number of licensed bakeries decreased and the remaining few were provided with a standard cookie package layout and pictures. For the first time in history, all Girl Scout Cookie® boxes featured the same designs and depicted scenes of Girl Scouts in action. The official Girl Scout logo also made a packaging appearance during this era. (See an early Girl Scout Cookie Recipe)