Feast on This

A smorgasbord of ways to profit from your passion for food

The common ingredient of the restaurants he has opened in the last four years—the others are August in New York City; Marc Burger in Chicago and Costa Mesa, California; and Street Food in Stockholm—is respect for the customer. “People evolve, so a restaurant has to evolve. We’re continually listening to customers and what they want.”

Part of that listening now involves social media. “When I started in the business, it was traditional media that counted. Today, everyone gives you a review,” thanks to Twitter, Facebook, and Yelp, says Samuelsson, who has more than 27,000 followers on Twitter and another 26,000 fans on Facebook. He says a mix of communication via e-mail, written letters, or face-to-face conversation is important. “People want to be touched. People want to be spoken to.”

Humility, hard work, and passion are essential qualities for breaking into the business, Samuelsson says. And respect for the past can ensure a solid future. “I cook here successfully because Sylvia [Woods, owner of Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem] has cooked 50 years before me here,” he notes. People of color need to have a broader view of the business, though. “We always cook. We always serve. There’s also a business in it, and we’re not there as a whole.”

Toward that end, Samuelsson has been investing in the community. About 70% of Red Rooster’s staff lives in Harlem. “I have to work hard to really get that,” explains the restaurateur, who also offers free cooking classes—both with the objective of nurturing future owners and chefs from the neighborhood. “This is not a gimmick. This is my life. This is where I live.”

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  • Angel

    Ryan, it is so GREAT seeing your heart for God, and spnaedirg His truth whether it is at LBCCS or elsewhere. I’m sure that over the last two years at LBCCS that you have been a big encouragement to people, but I am also totally convinced that as you move on into what God has for you in the future, that you will continue to be a GREAT blessing and encouragement to those who cross your path.

  • Bthina

    Wow, I can’t even find the words to express how tochued I am. I absolutely love it! The story you created through these photographs and the composition in which you have presented them has tochued my heart and once again I have counted my blessings. Not only have I thanked God for the blessing of my family shown in these pictures but, also for my family that made these beautiful images possible. Thank you, T2 and Sarah. However, Sarah IS in the pictures which I think is very cool!!!!!!! We love you both!

  • Yulie

    Ma’m, I’m new in cooking benagli food for my husband & as im living in australia, mostly i call my mom back in Bangladesh for any kind of recipes,instructions. but as im a born hindu married to a christian (Foriegner who seems to love the bangladeshi cooking style!!), my mom cant help me out with beef recipes (Not that she knows i cook beef at home haha) anyway i was looking online for a beef liver bhuna recipe for the last 3 hours & only now I found ur blog & I have a feeling this will b very helpful! thank u so mch for blogging these wonderful recipes here & a special thanks to ur children who help u put these recipes on ur blog.Best wishes,R