MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson could not have been happier or busier over the weekend.
He opened The Creamery at Red Rooster Overtown, just in time to celebrate Juneteenth.
The Creamery is a smaller side post of his soon-to-open Red Rooster restaurant, which was supposed to open just before the pandemic but never did.
CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo spoke with Samuelsson via Zoom the day before he left for Miami. He was outside his iconic Red Rooster Harlem.
“We’ve been building and working on it for five years now and we were finally were ready and then the pandemic happened,” he said. “So right next to it we have this tiny creamery. We’re doing chicken and waffles for the family ice cream, super fun food that you can just pull up takeout delivery and it’s really affordable. We felt like this time let’s start with that.”
Samuelsson was born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden after his mother died. Always cooking since childhood, he came to New York as an apprentice and the rest is history. In 2003 he was named “Chef: New York City” by the James Beard Foundation. Later, that same foundation named his African-inspired cookbook “The Soul of a New Cuisine” the “Best International Cookbook.”
The chef said opening up a new chapter in Overtown is a dream come true.
“Well, I take a lot of pride in being part of Overtown, in the community. And creating jobs in Overtown is going to be amazing. We’ve had so many applicants and amazing people come through. We can’t wait to just open the restaurant for all of you guys in Miami,” he said.
He says looking forward to the country healing in all ways.
“I mean we are watching American history unfold right in front of our eyes,” Samuelsson explained. “So it’s a very important time and I’m inspired by the peaceful marchers. America is a beautiful country but we have a very ugly past with slavery and the way we deal with race in this country, and we are unpacking all of that right in front of us. It’s an important journey.”
In late March, with all of his restaurants closed, Samuelsson teamed up with chef Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen and Food Rescue US- Miami to provide meals to anyone in need three days a week. The program is still ongoing.
This father of one says positive lessons have been learned.
“This is something I’ve documented, this journey, and maybe in 10 years when my son is a little older we can talk about what we did. We served over 100,000 meals between Harlem and Overtown and that’s for the community for free, so there’s a lot of things I take pride in as a team and I will remember that,” he explained.
And his outlook for the future is as sweet and savory as his food.
“Food can bring people together when the politicians can’t. People can do it and food obviously can do it. We have to do it in a safe way, but I really believe in us and I’m really excited about coming to Miami,” he said.
The Creamery is offering a Sundae Supper for four for those looking to dine on a full meal with a small group. It’s open for business now. The Red Rooster is set to open around Labor Day.
For more info, visit: redroosterovertown.com.