Q&A With Marcus Samuelsson
The famed chef and cookbook author tells us about his history as a cook, his worst and best health habits, and his latest book, 'Yes, Chef.'
You like to teach kids and parents how to cook healthy foods -- in your restaurant, in the iPad app Big Fork Little Fork, and elsewhere. What do you emphasize in your classes?
We focus on how to prepare vegetables and on how to cook things simply. I like to teach kids, but it's truly a matter of getting the parents interested. When it comes to healthy eating, parents are the gatekeepers. Most kids don't eat enough vegetables, but that's not their fault. That's on their parents, so I try to get to them first.
With several restaurants around the country and in Sweden, you are always on the go. How do you like to relax?
Relaxing is very different for different people. I do it by playing soccer, by keeping really active. That's relaxing for me. I also paint; I document my food and tell the story of my journey through painting. 9 to 5 is just not what I am doing. I don't have a job, I have a lifestyle. It's not for everyone, but it's for me.
Working around food, is it hard to keep from overindulging?
I eat with spirit. Some days I fast and eat nothing at all. Some days I eat only vegetables. The way I eat helps me keep a spiritual compass.
But you must have a guilty pleasure food that you can't resist?
The sweet potato doughnuts at Red Rooster at the end of the night.
Do you stick to a regular exercise routine?
It's hard, especially when I travel, but I try to run six miles once a week, and three days a week, I play soccer with my buddies or I hit the gym. If I can do that, I feel pretty good. And I've always gotten exercise from working, from being so active all the time.
What's your best health habit?
I try to get enough sleep. I try to keep balanced. I don't do too much of any one thing. That's important to me. Sleeping, working out regularly, and drinking enough water are essential, especially if you work as much as I do.