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Marcus Samuelsson Cooks For Ex-Cons In Harlem

Top Chef Masters winner Marcus Samuelsson brings a unique blend of soul food and Swedish cuisine to his Harlem restaurant Red Rooster, but the chef/owner took some time off to give back to the community in a cooking demo for ex-cons. He visited the Fortune Society’s Castle Gardens, just 15 blocks uptown of his restaurant to chat with some formerly incarcerated gentlefolk about how to cook post-prison food. Lesson #1 — pair your fried chicken with a salad instead of mac ‘n’ cheese.

“It does make a difference what we eat,” he encouraged his rapt audience. “When you cook, think about texture. Texture is very key.”

After asking what food was like in the pokey (“Tasteless,” according to one woman), Marcus showed the group how to whip up a grapefruit, carrot, and nut salad with buttermilk dressing as a side dish to fried chicken. It was a hit, despite his gentle reminder to go light on the dressing.

President and CEO of the Fortune Society JoAnne Page lauded Samuelsson’s efforts: “He got people excited about salad. What more could you ask?”

Marcus Samuelsson can come demo us a lunch salad anytime. Released inmates welcome!

[NY Daily News]

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