Hot new Harlem eatery earns Presidential visit
UPDATE: A post about the President's visit IS HERE. Samuelsson double-blogged the event.
New York-based chef Marcus Samuelsson joins only a handful of chefs who have received repeat business from President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. And he'll be getting more of it on Tuesday evening, when the President headlines a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at Samuelsson's culi-hotspot, the Red Rooster restaurant in Harlem, New York.
Since 2009, when the acclaimed cookbook author and restaurateur created a flawless menu as the guest chef for the first State Dinner of the Administration, Samuelsson has become an active member of the Let's Move! campaign, and he cooked for Mrs. Obama when she visited the Big Apple last year. (Above: Samuelsson in the White House kitchen, with just-harvested greens from the First Lady's Kitchen Garden)
The trip will be Mr. Obama's first visit to Harlem since becoming president, though he's visited Manhattan before. Open for less than four months, Samuelsson's Rooster is the dining spot du jour in New York, with terrific reviews and an avid following. The American comfort-food menu is meant to be affordable, with entrees ranging from $16-$24. But on Tuesday, prices will be *slightly* higher: The fundraiser is $30,800 per person. It's an exclusive affair: Only about fifty people are expected.
The Rooster's chef is Andrea Bergquist, who accompanied Samuelsson to the White House to help create the State Dinner in honor of India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Later on the same evening, the President will attend an invitation-only "Thank You Reception with President Obama," at the nearby Studio Museum on 125th Street. New York is a critical fundraising base for the President; during the 2008 campaign, locals dumped millions into campaign coffers.
In March of 2010, Mrs. Obama and friends dined at New York's Aquavit restaurant, which was then owned by Samuelsson. Last June, Samuelsson joined Mrs. Obama at the White House for the massive chef love-in on the South Lawn that was the launch event for the Chefs Move to Schools initiative. More than 700 chefs were in attendance, and Samulesson starred in a White House video about the event, which also featured Rachael Ray. (Above: Mrs. Obama gives Samulesson a hug during the June, 2010 Spring Harvest in the Kitchen Garden)
Samuelsson sits squarely on the Obama shortlist of favorite non-White House chefs, which includes DC's Jose Andres, Spike Mendelsohn and Todd Gray; and New York's Dan Barber, all of whom have enjoyed multiple restaurant visits from the First Couple--and all of whom have joined the Let's Move! campaign.
*Samulesson was featured in a fashion story in the New York Times this weekend.
Info: Red Rooster is at 310 Lenox Avenue, New York, New York, 10027. Phone: 212-792-9001.
*Top photo courtesy of Samuelsson, taken by Gate Haile; second photo by Eddie Gehman Kohan/ObamaFoodorama.com