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Photograph courtesy of Marcus Samuelsson

For the chef and author, food and memories are all tied together.

Cookbook everyone should own…
Their mother’s.

Every kitchen should have…
Champagne (because you never know who’s coming over), pickles (because I’m Swedish) and honey wine (some of the strongest and most delicious stuff from Ethiopia).

Earliest food memory…
Learning how to make roast chicken with my grandmother Helga.

Moment you knew you wanted to be a chef…
There were two: The first was being in the kitchen with my grandmother and realizing I loved what I was doing. The second was when I was told I was cut from the soccer team — I channeled all my frustrations and energy into the other thing I loved to do.

The one dish you never get tired of…
My wife’s doro watt.

Favorite restaurants (other than your own)…
New York’s Ramen Totto, Animal and Mozza in L.A., Coppa in Boston, Camino in Oakland and then the tiny, tiny tempura places in Tokyo that make some of the most perfect food in the world.

Your Proust madeleine…
Definitely berbere. It reminds me of where I came from, with its sweet and spicy notes. It keeps me connected to my birth mother and father.

If not a chef, you would be…
A soccer player.

See all our tastemakers’ book suggestions from seasons past and present here.

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