After a celebrated run as executive chef at Aquavit Restaurant, the Ethiopia-born Marcus Samuelsson performed gustatory magic in Harlem: In a neighborhood that didn't have a chain grocery store until 1999, he's built a spot both critically heralded and reflective of the area's many cultures. "I bike and I walk every corner of Harlem, and see so much diversity that's unexpected," he says. Then he builds a menu around those encounters.
Black text: What he was inspired to add to his menu
Receives two three-star ratings from The New York Times (the youngest chef to receive one)
Becomes UNICEF Ambassador
First ever guest chef for the Obama administration, cooking the first state dinner in honor of Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh; marries model Maya Haile
Winner of Bravo's Top Chef Masters season 2
Hosts fundraising dinner at Red Rooster that was attended by President Obama; is named Best Dressed Male by Vanity Fair
Becomes a reoccurring judge on Chopped