Chef Marcus Samuelsson

Ethiopian-Swedish-American-Montreal fusion!

If anyone knows a thing or two about diversity, it’s surely chef Marcus Samuelsson.

His career path couldn’t be more unconventional. Separated from his family as a child in his native Ethiopia during the turmoil of the civil war, Marcus was later adopted by a Swedish couple.

His early introduction to cooking was in Smögen, on the west coast of Sweden. Every morning, he went fishing with his dadand uncles, who later showed him how tosmoke and preserve the catch. His grandmother Helga taught Marcus and his brothers how to pickle vegetables and make meatballs, cassolettes and cookies.

But it was in New York, in Manhattan’s Scandinavian restaurant Aquavit, that he embarked on a career that would take him to the top. Later, he would open Red Rooster, a Harlem soul food restaurant that he ran while writing several cookbooks and participating in several TV shows.

In his first foray into Canada, Samuelsson arrived in Montreal, a city he knows well from having frequently visited his cousins in the off-island suburb of Saint-Bruno. He explains that he was drawn to Montreal for its culinary diversity and the entertainment scene.Chef Samuelsson recently opened the new eponymously named Marcus restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel Montreal on De la Montagne Street.

Montrealers finally have the chance to savour this chef’s award-winning, unique cuisine that fuses the culinary traditions of Sweden (fish), Ethiopia (spices) and Quebec (fresh local products).