Chef Marcus Samuelsson on how a good meal transcends politics: Food “doesn't have an R or D behind it”


Renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster is celebrating the delicious and diverse cuisines of American cities in a new six-part television series, "No Passport Required," which he's hosting and executive producing for PBS. He joined "Salon Talks" to talk about why he chose to visit vibrant immigrant communities where the creativity behind each dish is as deep and rich as the history.

"Unless you're native everyone is an immigrant in American, right? Doesn't matter how we got here, right?" Samuelsson, who was born in Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, and now based in Harlem, told SalonTV's D. Watkins. In thinking about what type of food show he wanted to create, Samuelsson was set on spotlighting immigrants.

"We are all kind of dealing with this moment that we are in. We know it's very unique, we are all being challenged, especially as a black man you are constantly being challenged from day one, so that's actually been helpful in this process, because we are always under attack." Samuelsson said. The chef, who says he's been an immigrant six times in different countries, chose to explore the cuisines of Detroit's Middle Eastern community, the Indo-Guyanese community in Queens, Haitians in Miami and Ethiopians in Washington, just to name a few.

During the filming of "No Passport Required," Samuelsson also picked up some cooking inspiration. "As chefs, we don't just get great ideas from an expensive restaurants, it's actually the opposite," Samuelsson said. "We want to eat things that are foreign to us because out of that journey like, 'Oh, maybe there's a way to tweak this.'"

Watch the interview above to learn more about the show and to hear Samuelsson talk about music's connection to food. Tune in for SalonTV's live shows, "Salon Talks" and "Salon Stage", daily at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT and 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT, streaming live on YouTube, Facebook and Periscope.

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