By Jennifer Condon
Portrait by Cameron Krone
It’s not every day a world-renowned chef makes the Vanity Fair’s International Best-Dressed list. He became famous at 24 as the youngest chef to receive 3 stars from The New York Times. Since then he has continued to be a star in the culinary world for his outstanding restaurants, cookbooks and food-based charities. But with an unparalleled eloquence of mixing high with low and familiar and unexpected, Chef Marcus Samuelsson also gets accolades for his remarkable style. “My style is largely informed by the places I’ve lived,” he explains. “I’m excited by what the street guys throughout Africa are making, and the clothing from my home country, Sweden, that is on the cusp of getting big, like Cheap Monday and Junk Deluxe.”
At The Red Rooster, his newest restaurant in Harlem, he has created an environment both glamorous and comfortable, enchanting both neighborhood regulars and guests such as President Obama with his expertly crafted space and cuisine. We stopped by to get a glimpse of a few of his favorite things.
“This winter I’d love to get away to someplace hot and pack as little as possible,” says Samuelsson. Vilebrequin is the perfect destination for must-have beachwear and resort essentials. The linen shorts above are practical for the beach, and sharp enough to be worn to lunch at a poolside grill. The bright orange color would look perfect against the deep blue waters of the Baltic Sea, a favorite holiday destination during the summers in his native Sweden.
The Swedish chef is accustomed to dressing for the cold; New York's winters must pale in comparison to those from his native Gothenburg. “I live in great jackets and boots all fall and winter,” says Samuelsson. The rugged suede and shearling coat from Gucci has got this engaging chef and TV personality covered.
It goes without saying that there's nothing more dashing than a man in a tuxedo. So when you step up said tuxedo and splurge for one with a little flair — like those found on the Zegna runway——you're bound to break a few hearts. “I just splurged on a beautiful black tie jacket,” says Samuelsson. No wonder you're on the Vanity Fair Best Dressed List!
“I keep a stack of cookbooks and a notebook on my bedside, in case I wake up with a good food idea,” says Samuelsson. "In case" may be a bit modest, considering the chef's many accolades and three acclaimed books of his own: "New American Table," "The Soul of a New Cuisine," and "Aquavit and the New Scandinavian Cuisine." The James Beard Award-winning chef has also won Bravo's Top Chef Masters in 2010 and was invited to the White House to prepare a state dinner for the Indian prime minister that same year.
Samuelsson is often pictured wearing a hat. “Always think about the occasion you are dressing for and wear something that brings out the best in you,” he says. This straw fedora works well in the summer heat and makes for a dashing silhouette when most are melting in the city heat. Samuelsson knows how to work the style well.
Manning the kitchen is no easy task. Besides being a high-energy, high-stress environment, the kitchen calls for you to be on your feet all day. And while we know this can be rough, we appreciate our chefs who have balked the Crocs trend (sorry, Mario) and maintained their personal style, even when the heat is on! “I love shoes that I can wear all day at the restaurant and then put on a jacket and head to an event.”