Marcus Samuelsson is a restaurant owner, a TV host, and a culinary consultant for New York City Football Club. Here’s how this man of the world copes when he’s far from home.
I’M EXTREMELY PASSIONATE about what I do: cooking, opening restaurants, hosting No Passport Required. It’s a privilege, and, hell yeah, it’s a challenge—financially, emotionally, on my family. But I believe in what we’re creating. Red Rooster, in Harlem, connects people in the community. The open kitchen lets you see the incredible people working there. I want to celebrate each person who cooks and their narrative. The guy boiling crawfish in the back of his van is as much a chef as Daniel Boulud.
On the road, we’re eating constantly, at odd hours, sampling the foods of different cultures for the TV show, or testing recipes for new restaurants and projects. Plus, the air travel and time changes going among North America, Europe, and Africa can throw you off. So a week before a long trip, I fast or cut out heavy foods, like animal protein and butter. When I’m not filming or traveling, I eat two big meals a day, and light for the third, if anything.
Some days, going for a run is the only time I’m alone. I go about six miles, four days a week. I’d love to run the New York City Marathon again. It is a celebration of the city I love. On days I don’t run, I stay active in other ways. For instance, I play in a soccer league in Chinatown, in lower Manhattan, which I joined 14 years ago. It’s made up of a lot of immigrants who come together to socialize and for the love of the game. These days, half of the people don’t even live in the U.S. anymore, so the teams are 60 people deep and whoever is there plays. Afterward, we go watch English soccer, have a beer with our buddies, talk about our families—and we don’t talk about work.