The New York Times is, among other things, pretty much the newspaper of record when it comes to declaring food trends and elevating chefs above the rest of the restaurant industry, and today it observed Marcus Samuelsson in the midst of becoming A Brand Name.
And dear lord, he is very busy becoming a Brand Name in Nice Pants, indeed! As the latest chef to become a ubiquitous Brand Name across America, Samuelsson’s now hanging out with people like Barack Obama, Kanye West, and Beyonce, and getting the recognition that Famous Awesome People get from Nobodies (“I knew that guy looked familiar,” says one shopper at a Macy’s demo. “I saw him on CBS This Morning.”) But how can you translate that into cash and power?
Yes, there is Red Rooster and five other restaurants. But there is more — much more. A forthcoming cookware collection for Macy’s. A new line of teas. Deals with American Airlines and MasterCard. Appearances on “Top Chef Masters,”“Chopped All-Stars” and “The Next Iron Chef.” Two Web sites, FoodRepublic.com and marcussamuelsson.com, not to mention four cookbooks and the memoir. His growing, multimillion-dollar enterprise stretches from New York to Chicago to California to Stockholm, and employs more than 700 people.
We would make a “Marcus ‘Aurelius’ Samuelsson” joke here about the expansion of his empire, but, well, we just won’t.
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