Marcus Samulsson talks to Paper this week as part of his summer-long publicity tour for his new Harlem restaurant and giant undertaking Red Rooster. He emphasizes his commitment to the neighborhood, explaining that all of the restaurant's dishware will be bought in Harlem thrift stores and antique shops, murals will be painted by local artists, produce bought from local farmers markets.
In addition to the restaurant—which will have a cafe and coffee shop on the ground level, and a fine dining room and speakeasy themed area below—he's planning cooking classes and an after church program, an open mic night and maybe a rooftop farm. Before anything opens, he'll be selling Red Rooster peach jam.
But here, let him explain his overall vision for the flavor: "I want it to taste like I took a bike from the east side of Harlem to the west side of Harlem and told the story of everything I saw. I want to capture the Latin community, the Caribbean and African-American communities, the Italian-American community, the Jewish-American community and the Columbia students. That, to me, is so representative of American food and Americans today."