What inspires us to do good for others? Chef Marcus Samuelsson of Harlem’s Red Rooster and FEED founder Lauren Bush Lauren discuss privilege, perspective and helping others with Billy and Debbie Shore on this moving episode. “The luxury of being adopted and the luxury of being African is that… you get windows into different worlds. [Ethiopia] is more than this quick sound bite or how people want to label us with false narratives,” says Samuelsson. Lauren recalls her work in international hunger that inspired her to found FEED. “It’s literally like a ‘birth lottery’ – just because of where you are born, your next meal is not a guarantee,” she says.
Despite their different backgrounds, both guests credit their early life experiences in leading them to a life of service. “Growing up around people who had influence and had dedicated their lives to service, I grew up feeling empowered that I too could – in my own way – make a difference,” says Lauren. “This moment we’re in, it’s so divisive, but in many ways a blessing if you know how to turn your energy. As an immigrant, you get challenged every day, and I say, ‘thank you for inspiring me!,’” says Samuelsson.
Listen in as two passionate leaders describe how their work is fighting hunger and giving people hope around the world.
Resources and Mentions:
- No Kid Hungry (nokidhungry.org): Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is ending child hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day.
- Marcus Samuelsson Born in Ethiopia, Marcus Samuelsson grew up in Sweden cooking alongside his grandmother, Helga. After graduating from the Gothenburg Culinary Institute, Samuelsson apprenticed in Switzerland, Austria, and France before immigrating to the United States. In 1994, he took a position at Aquavit, rising to the role of executive chef and earning three stars from The New York Times. Four years later, he was James Beard’s “Rising Star Chef” and in 2003 “Best Chef, New York City.” Samuelsson evolved from the wunderkind of Scandinavian cuisine to a chef exploring his roots through cuisine. The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa received a James Beard Award for “Best International Cookbook” in 2007. Samuelsson was invited to cook the first State Dinner for President Barack Obama in 2009, and in 2010, he opened his first restaurant, Red Rooster Harlem. He founded the Harlem EatUp Festival in 2015, a celebration of the food and culture of Harlem, and was named co-chair of Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP). Since opening Red Rooster, he’s co-founded the Marcus Samuelsson Group, now 31 restaurants strong spanning New York, New Jersey, Bermuda, Scandinavia, London, Chicago, and Canada. Samuelsson has written five more cookbooks, including 2016’s Red Rooster Cookbook, and a memoir. He’s appeared on both Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” and as a regular judge on Food Network’s “Chopped.” Currently, he produces and hosts the PBS series “No Passport Required,” a show that explores the diverse cultures and cuisines in America.
- Red Rooster Located in the heart of Harlem, Red Rooster Harlem serves comfort food that celebrates the roots of American cuisine and the neighborhood’s diverse culinary traditions. We seek to share the story of Harlem with our guests and offer a space that celebrates local artists, musicians and culinary talents alike. We embrace today’s Harlem with a spirit of inclusiveness and community by hiring our family of staff from within the community, inspiring better eating through neighborhood cooking classes, and buying from local purveyors. Named in honor of the legendary Harlem speakeasy that attracted neighborhood folk, jazz greats, and noteworthy figures of the 20th century from Adam Clayton Powell Jr. to Nat King Cole and James Baldwin, we’re privileged to share our namesake with the original Red Rooster.
- Lauren Bush Lauren is the CEO and Co-Founder of FEED Projects. She is also known for her previous career as a fashion model and designer. She is the daughter of Neil Bush and Sharon Bush, granddaughter of former President George H. W. Bush, and niece of former President George W. Bush and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. She co-founded FEED Projects in 2007. The charitable companies makes and sells bags with a portion of the sales donated to the United Nations World Food Programme to feed children in need around the world. Lauren previously worked as an honorary spokesperson with the UN World Food Programme. On her travels around the world as a World Food Programme (WFP) Honorary Spokesperson, she witnessed the effects of hunger firsthand. In places like Cambodia, Chad and Guatemala, she saw a program making a dent in child malnutrition: school meals. When a child is given a free, nutritious school lunch, it can break the cycle of poverty she was born into and empower her to change her own life. Lauren founded FEED in 2007 with the simple idea of creating products that would engage people in the fight against hunger in a tangible way. Every one of our products has a number stamped on it that signifies the amount of meals or micronutrient packets provided with its purchase.
- FEED (Feedprojects.com) is an impact driven lifestyle brand with an enduring principle at the heart of what we do: that people’s choices of what to buy and wear have the power to change the world. We offer meaningful ways for you to make a difference, from the bags you carry, to the places you gather, to the meals you share. Hunger is a daily reality for approximately 795 million people, and one of the most effective solution to combat this crisis is school feeding. With every product we sell, we provide school meals to the most vulnerable communities across the globe, through on-the-ground partners. From bags to accessories to home goods, we infuse our utilitarian aesthetic and function-first commitment into every product we make. We are also proud to work with artisans, from Kenya to India, for a growing number of collections. Through the sale of our artisan-made products, we not only provide meals, but also sustainable livelihoods for our artisan partners and their families.