Yes, Chef! is Correct Reply, Even for POTUS
Marcus Samuelsson strutted his stuff at the World Culinary Showcase, the platform for celebrity chefs at The Show. That’s the annual National Restaurant Association confab that drew 62,500 attendees this year to Chicago’s McCormick Place in late May, including the staff of Franchise Times.
The founder of Red Rooster Harlem, Samuelsson described his unique blend of Swedish and African cuisine, and prepared his version of fried chicken at The Show. (Orphaned as a toddler in Ethiopia, he was adopted and raised by Swedish parents.)
Cure it in salt and water. Marinate it in buttermilk and coconut milk. “Then I’m cooking a curry,” he said, demonstrating.
He also answered questions from students who appeared one by one before him, and soon he had the whole room chanting after each answer: “Yes, Chef!” That’s the response preferred by every chef who rules in the kitchen, and it’s also the name of his 2012 memoir.
The response even works for heads of state, he said with a laugh. When Samuelsson was invited to cook for President Obama’s first state dinner, the prez himself came down to say hello. “My cook got so nervous when he met President Obama, he said, ‘Yes, Chef.’”
Samuelsson was asked at The Show what wisdom he could pass on to aspiring chefs. “You have to dig deep. You can’t look at it as just a job,” he says. “This is a craftsmanship, to get better and better.” And the crowd responded: “Yes, Chef!”