PHOTO GALLERY: The Cuisine Scene

Marcus Samuelsson_sm

Celebrity chefs transform our most basic need--the desire to eat--into art. In the last decade, cooking has taken a more prominent place in  American culture thanks to televised cooking competitions. African  American chefs made up 2% of executive chefs and 5% of restaurant owners  in 2009, according to StarChefs.com, but they seem to show up far  more often on television than they do in real life. In fact, of the 17 contestants on the current season of Top Chef D.C, four, or almost 24%, are black. Meet five chef-preneurs who have appeared on television but who try to keep the dough rolling in while managing their own restaurants and catering companies. Chef Marcus Samuelsson, owner and executive chef of C-House in Chicago, has apprenticed in Switzerland, Austria, and France, but is internationally acclaimed because his culinary prowess has been heralded by some of the top tasters in the world. Not to mention the fact that he beat 21 fellow chefs and won first place on the second season of the television competition Top Chef Masters.

Celebrity chefs transform our most basic need–the desire to eat–into art. In the last decade,…