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The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem

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Southern comfort food and multicultural recipes from the New York Times best-selling superstar chef Marcus Samuelsson’s iconic Harlem restaurant. When the James Beard Award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson opened Red Rooster on Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem, he envisioned more than a restaurant. It would be the heart of his neighborhood and a meet-and-greet for both the downt Southern comfort food and multicultural recipes from the New York Times best-selling superstar chef Marcus Samuelsson’s iconic Harlem restaurant. When the James Beard Award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson opened Red Rooster on Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem, he envisioned more than a restaurant. It would be the heart of his neighborhood and a meet-and-greet for both the downtown and the uptown sets, serving Southern black and cross-cultural food. It would reflect Harlem's history. Ever since the 1930s, Harlem has been a magnet for more than a million African Americans, a melting pot for Spanish, African, and Caribbean immigrants, and a mecca for artists.  These traditions converge on Rooster’s menu, with Brown Butter Biscuits, Chicken and Waffles, Killer Collards, and Donuts with Sweet Potato Cream. They’re joined by global-influenced dishes such as Jerk Bacon and Baked Beans, Latino Pork and Plantains, and Chinese Steamed Bass and Fiery Noodles. Samuelsson’s Swedish-Ethiopian background shows in Ethiopian Spice-Crusted Lamb, Slow-Baked Blueberry Bread with Spiced Maple Syrup, and the Green Viking, sprightly Apple Sorbet with Caramel Sauce.  Interspersed with lyrical essays that convey the flavor of the place and stunning archival and contemporary photos, The Red Rooster Cookbook is as layered as its inheritance.  


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Southern comfort food and multicultural recipes from the New York Times best-selling superstar chef Marcus Samuelsson’s iconic Harlem restaurant. When the James Beard Award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson opened Red Rooster on Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem, he envisioned more than a restaurant. It would be the heart of his neighborhood and a meet-and-greet for both the downt Southern comfort food and multicultural recipes from the New York Times best-selling superstar chef Marcus Samuelsson’s iconic Harlem restaurant. When the James Beard Award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson opened Red Rooster on Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem, he envisioned more than a restaurant. It would be the heart of his neighborhood and a meet-and-greet for both the downtown and the uptown sets, serving Southern black and cross-cultural food. It would reflect Harlem's history. Ever since the 1930s, Harlem has been a magnet for more than a million African Americans, a melting pot for Spanish, African, and Caribbean immigrants, and a mecca for artists.  These traditions converge on Rooster’s menu, with Brown Butter Biscuits, Chicken and Waffles, Killer Collards, and Donuts with Sweet Potato Cream. They’re joined by global-influenced dishes such as Jerk Bacon and Baked Beans, Latino Pork and Plantains, and Chinese Steamed Bass and Fiery Noodles. Samuelsson’s Swedish-Ethiopian background shows in Ethiopian Spice-Crusted Lamb, Slow-Baked Blueberry Bread with Spiced Maple Syrup, and the Green Viking, sprightly Apple Sorbet with Caramel Sauce.  Interspersed with lyrical essays that convey the flavor of the place and stunning archival and contemporary photos, The Red Rooster Cookbook is as layered as its inheritance.  

30 review for The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lorna

    The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem is not only beautiful cookbook, it is also a loving tribute to Harlem and its colorful and diverse history by world-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson. This book is filled with beautiful photographs of the streets, the people and the vibrations and rhythms of Harlem, as well as a book of many of the unique recipes on the menu at the Red Rooster that speaks not only to Samuelsson's roots but to the lively and diverse character of Harle The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem is not only beautiful cookbook, it is also a loving tribute to Harlem and its colorful and diverse history by world-renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson. This book is filled with beautiful photographs of the streets, the people and the vibrations and rhythms of Harlem, as well as a book of many of the unique recipes on the menu at the Red Rooster that speaks not only to Samuelsson's roots but to the lively and diverse character of Harlem from collard greens to plantains to marrow dumplings with charred broccolini and chiles to pescado wrapped in banana leaves to Uncle T's meatballs. And all of this cuisine is set to Jazz playlists. This restaurant is now on my bucket list - mmmmm. . . ! "Right now, my Rooster marks the halfway point of 125th Street . . . I want to walk river to river. I want to know how one street can change and change again. How one street can map success. 'Look at me, it says, you are standing on a marvel; you are surrounded by the extraordinary.' Harlem is a slow seduction. What is ugly keeps bumping into the beautiful." "Right now in Harlem, we don't shy away from the ugly; we don't bow our heads to what's beautiful. We just keep asking, how does all this new shit fit with the old? Right now in Harlem there's room; there's hope; there's inspiration; there's good food. I may not be able to explain the magic, but it is there. . . One thing is certain, wherever you are, you should come to Harlem--right now.' ". . . I've made space at our bar for all kinds of celebration. . . All kinds of elbows touch. People who sometimes avoid looking at each other on the street, gather around our bar and talk. Nothing fascinates me like watching brunch and church ladies wearing hats that look like pastry who can't hide their grins behind the cocktails they're drinking. . . " "This was an opportunity to build a bridge. . . One of the supporting beams was music. Great food, cocktails, sweet old music. That would be our foundation. Gospel, jazz, salsa, soul, reggae--the music and the artists who played--would organize the nights and days of the Red Rooster."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kasa Cotugno

    I don't know if I've ever read a cookbook that was this enjoyable. But given that its author is one of my favorite people let alone favorite chefs, it stands to reason this is not an ordinary cookbook. Marcus Samuelsson includes with the recipes from his Red Rooster a history and visual description of what it means to live in Harlem. So sensual and filled with such beautiful detail, personal histories, the relevance of music to the Red Rooster, all combine into a book of importance and worth. It I don't know if I've ever read a cookbook that was this enjoyable. But given that its author is one of my favorite people let alone favorite chefs, it stands to reason this is not an ordinary cookbook. Marcus Samuelsson includes with the recipes from his Red Rooster a history and visual description of what it means to live in Harlem. So sensual and filled with such beautiful detail, personal histories, the relevance of music to the Red Rooster, all combine into a book of importance and worth. It didn't hurt that I attended a luncheon at which he was present, and the dishes were all from the pages of this wonderful book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rosemary

    A nice history of Harlem and it's many cultures. The recipes are more suited to the restaurant chef than the home cook. It's pretty and interesting but not a resource I would add to my collection. A nice history of Harlem and it's many cultures. The recipes are more suited to the restaurant chef than the home cook. It's pretty and interesting but not a resource I would add to my collection.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    This is an amazing, well written cookbook, with great, first person stories from Marcus Samuelsson about his restaurant in Harlem, his participation in his community, the origins of his recipes and the local people who are his customers. I loved this book!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    Wow! What a culinary experience just reading this before I ever try any of the recipes! So much cultural and social history of Harlem included and this makes for a gorgeous coffee table book. The paper is thick and the photos are awesome! This was such an enjoyable reading and learning journey. I can't wait to make some of the seasoning staples Samuelsson uses in his recipes and try them out. Absolutely fascinating! So glad I purchased this to keep! Wow! What a culinary experience just reading this before I ever try any of the recipes! So much cultural and social history of Harlem included and this makes for a gorgeous coffee table book. The paper is thick and the photos are awesome! This was such an enjoyable reading and learning journey. I can't wait to make some of the seasoning staples Samuelsson uses in his recipes and try them out. Absolutely fascinating! So glad I purchased this to keep!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Becki Iverson

    Cookbooks are undergoing a swift evolution right now and I am really enjoying it! They are becoming far more than a simple collection of recipes. The latest from Marcus Samuelsson furthers that tradition, becoming another key text of American culinary history. Red Rooster is really a long love letter to Harlem in all of it's complexities, from the black community to other immigrant waves to Sunday church to jazz Saturdays. The book is organized more by event and "feel" than by specific meal cate Cookbooks are undergoing a swift evolution right now and I am really enjoying it! They are becoming far more than a simple collection of recipes. The latest from Marcus Samuelsson furthers that tradition, becoming another key text of American culinary history. Red Rooster is really a long love letter to Harlem in all of it's complexities, from the black community to other immigrant waves to Sunday church to jazz Saturdays. The book is organized more by event and "feel" than by specific meal categories, which makes for a much more interesting and less traditional read. This is truly American cooking, with influences and ranges from every possible corner of our culture. It also includes a number of essays from locals in the community discussing the origins of art and music and the heart of Harlem, and they add a deep, lyrical twist to the book. Red Rooster is so much more than a cookbook, which really surprised me. I was already inspired by Marcus Samuelsson's work, but I am more driven than ever to seek it out now. With all the controversy these days surrounding immigration and the identity of America - who are we, anyway? - there could be no better antidote than this lovely tome. There are delicious recipes to be savored here for sure, but this is also a piece to proudly display on your coffee table. Definitely worth a read, pick it up!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Pam Lobley

    Most of these recipes are too involved for me to make. The stories of the neighborhood are sometimes interesting.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nelle L

    This book completely took me by surprise. I was expecting a great cookbook with wonderfully cultural recipes, but found myself entirely blown away by the writing in this book. Marcus Samuelson writes eloquently and with so much flavor. I knew after reading the preface that I was in for a real treat with this cookbook. Samuelson details how he found his home in Harlem, which is especially interesting considering his background as an Ethiopian who was adopted by Swedes and raised in Sweden. Sudden This book completely took me by surprise. I was expecting a great cookbook with wonderfully cultural recipes, but found myself entirely blown away by the writing in this book. Marcus Samuelson writes eloquently and with so much flavor. I knew after reading the preface that I was in for a real treat with this cookbook. Samuelson details how he found his home in Harlem, which is especially interesting considering his background as an Ethiopian who was adopted by Swedes and raised in Sweden. Suddenly you'll find yourself on this deeply cultural journey of immersion and execution and how his restaurant, Red Rooster Harlem, settled so comfortably and so perfectly in the streets of Harlem. Most often with cookbooks I find myself speaking of recipes I've tried that tasted nice or at least the ingredients seem they'd turn out that way - and these recipes do look great, plenty of wish I'm dying to try. But more than the recipes and eclectic ingredients, I'm hungry for more of Samuelson's writing, his background and adventure, and even more so, I find myself lost in Harlem, a place I've only been fortunate enough to imagine visiting. Foodie or not, get your hands on this book as soon as possible. You won't regret it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Chris Newby

    Brilliant. Makes me want to revisit Harlem and the Red Rooster asap

  10. 5 out of 5

    Judith Bienvenu

    This is much more than a cookbook. It's the story of Harlem, the story of Marcus coming to live and work in Harlem. I found it fascinating, illuminating, and enjoyed it a lot. There are stories between and among the recipes. Some of the recipes look easy, others look like a lot of work. Most, well, almost all, are meat-heavy, so probably won't be made in our semi-vegan household. Overall, I can recommend this highly, just because it transmits so much about Harlem, which I knew nothing about befo This is much more than a cookbook. It's the story of Harlem, the story of Marcus coming to live and work in Harlem. I found it fascinating, illuminating, and enjoyed it a lot. There are stories between and among the recipes. Some of the recipes look easy, others look like a lot of work. Most, well, almost all, are meat-heavy, so probably won't be made in our semi-vegan household. Overall, I can recommend this highly, just because it transmits so much about Harlem, which I knew nothing about before this.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    So blessed to have eaten dinner at Red Rooster, Harlem, NY and breakfast and lunch at Marcus, MGM National Harbor, I am filled beyond belief. The staff greeted us with pleasure and hospitality. Food was seasoned and loved the grits. The decorated restaurants, Ethiopian flair and design...loved it. So impressed was I at MGM National Harbor, I purchased the book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jocelin

    Marcus Samuelsson has really out done himself with this cookbook. This is more than a cookbook, it is a walk through of the vibrant culinary and entertainment scene of Harlem. The recipes looked scrumptious and the photography was lush.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This is one of the ones where you would not cook anything from the cookbook at home. But it makes me really want to go visit the restaurant. The pictures are beautiful and full of life, and everything in the cookbook books delicious. I just wouldn't make it in my house. This is one of the ones where you would not cook anything from the cookbook at home. But it makes me really want to go visit the restaurant. The pictures are beautiful and full of life, and everything in the cookbook books delicious. I just wouldn't make it in my house.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Flatley

    Not just food but music, culture and history. A must read!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ria F

    It's a love story to Harlem, with essays from people who are Harlem, interspersed with some of the most amazing recipes! It's a love story to Harlem, with essays from people who are Harlem, interspersed with some of the most amazing recipes!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    This made me want to eat at Red Rooster, but not necessarily make the recipes at home. That happens to me a lot with restaurant cookbooks!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Excellent stories, playlists, and photography as well...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Georgia

    A beautiful book to peruse. Who knew that a cookbook would have so much to say about how to be a good neighbor? How essential food and music are to paving that path? Beautiful essays and photographs

  19. 5 out of 5

    Carol Irvin

    What a great cookbook as well as the interesting stories intertwined within the recipes!!!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Samuelson, born in Ethiopia, grew up in Sweden and immigrated to the US, took a round about way to Red Rooster, cooking first in upscale innovative restaurant Aquavit, a well trained chef who eventually decides to open his own places in Harlem, Red Rooster, comfort food celebrating the diverse local Harlem cultures, is just one in a list of several. Take that comfort food label with a grain of salt or maybe a grain of Aleppo pepper. This is fancy, complex comfort food. He starts with defining pan Samuelson, born in Ethiopia, grew up in Sweden and immigrated to the US, took a round about way to Red Rooster, cooking first in upscale innovative restaurant Aquavit, a well trained chef who eventually decides to open his own places in Harlem, Red Rooster, comfort food celebrating the diverse local Harlem cultures, is just one in a list of several. Take that comfort food label with a grain of salt or maybe a grain of Aleppo pepper. This is fancy, complex comfort food. He starts with defining pantry ingredients needed which range from Chinese rice wine to Teff flour. Many ingredients are unusual, so cooks will need to have access to specialty stores. He also provides all kind of hints for drying herbs or making wine vinegar or whipping coconut cream. The book has a strong personal voice that makes the reader feel Samuelson is cooking right with them. The book mixes history of cooking and Harlem throughout. And Samuelson also includes personal stories. Pictures feature people on Harlem, ingredients, recipes and funky portraits. Recipes are clearly written and diverse. Most include an Asian component. I would like to order in the restaurant just about all of these recipes particularly the fried ones, but I probably won’t cook much from this book. I don’t like to fry, and some dishes require a few too many steps. For example, the baked beans require three separate recipes. And some dishes are just too rich like the Mac and cheese with four cups of cream and the collards, a cup of butter-special butter that has to be made separately. They all look great, but I tend to leave that level of complexity to a restaurant. This is a great book to read, maybe use one of the many music playlists curated to go with the food, or leaf through the pics, but I won’t be cooking much from it (except for the cornbread, browned butter biscuits and the red rooster hot sauce! And just maybe the pistachio Whoopi pies and the red velvet cake).

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Hinkson - Goins

    Each chapter in the Red Rooster Cookbook is a beautiful revelation of the history and legacy of the “world” called Harlem, U.S.A. The stories bring back cherished memories, and, of course, there’s the food! Marcus Samuelsson’s choice to share the voices and stories from the old and the new, artists, musicians, neighbors around the corner, church ladies, and children makes this cookbook more than recipes. It’s a true testimony of the pulse and revitalization of Harlem. -- pure heart and soul of a Each chapter in the Red Rooster Cookbook is a beautiful revelation of the history and legacy of the “world” called Harlem, U.S.A. The stories bring back cherished memories, and, of course, there’s the food! Marcus Samuelsson’s choice to share the voices and stories from the old and the new, artists, musicians, neighbors around the corner, church ladies, and children makes this cookbook more than recipes. It’s a true testimony of the pulse and revitalization of Harlem. -- pure heart and soul of a place that means so much to so many.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jami Good

    Art, jazz, fashion, history, food, family, love: Harlem. You want this cookbook for the recipes and excellent writing. For the feeling of being in Harlem -- honoring its people, past and present.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I really love Chef Samuelsson's personality and intelligence. The recipes were incredibly hard, calling for obscure ingredients or steps that included making your own ginger beer. Great book if you want to justify not learning how to cook. I really love Chef Samuelsson's personality and intelligence. The recipes were incredibly hard, calling for obscure ingredients or steps that included making your own ginger beer. Great book if you want to justify not learning how to cook.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Sciarrino

    So much more than a cookbook. Although, it is also a great cookbook. The book is the story of a great cook, of Harlem, and of the symbiotic relationship they have with each other. Each feeding the other ideas and inspiration. Amazing recipes. Great stories. Very well put together.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Shanelle P. Mayfield

    Great Book, set with amazing history and recipes! I loved the recipes, some of which incorporated ingredients and techniques far out of my comfort zone. Can't wait to try them. Great Book, set with amazing history and recipes! I loved the recipes, some of which incorporated ingredients and techniques far out of my comfort zone. Can't wait to try them.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nadia

    An excellent cookbook from one of my favorite chefs; earmarked a couple of recipes to make later

  27. 4 out of 5

    DRugh

    The culture of soul food and funky music. Samuelsson created a fascinating musical institution in Harlem, and this book describes the ingredients he used, and I can only imagine the experience.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tressa

    I liked the chapter titles, art, photos, stories, and playlists in The Red Rooster Cookbook. I liked the food as well, but it’s a bit fancier than what I would actually make.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Martha Marshall

    Not just a cook book. Very interesting Harlem history.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    Like S said: "there's a reason you go to restaurants" - like, we're not gonna make most of this stuff at home. So I won't use this book as a recipe source, but it's a great document of the neighborhood and Samuelsson's take on it& I enjoyed absorbing it: gorgeous photos, playlists, character profiles, and snippets of food truths. Beautiful. Like S said: "there's a reason you go to restaurants" - like, we're not gonna make most of this stuff at home. So I won't use this book as a recipe source, but it's a great document of the neighborhood and Samuelsson's take on it& I enjoyed absorbing it: gorgeous photos, playlists, character profiles, and snippets of food truths. Beautiful.

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