Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson , 44, owns four New York restaurants, with a fifth—Streetbird Rotisserie—opening in the spring. He is the author of “Marcus Off Duty: The Recipes I Cook at Home” ( Houghton Mifflin Harcourt ), which features 150 dishes inspired by his travels and background. He spoke with Marc Myers.
I was born in Ethiopia but grew up in Sweden, which wasn’t as big a culture shock as you’d imagine. I was 3 when my older sister and I were adopted by a couple from Göteborg who taught me to fish, cook and prioritize my life—lessons that remain with me today.
I don’t recall much from my earliest years in Meki, Ethiopia. I was too young. My mother had died from tuberculosis during an epidemic and my father was a priest and couldn’t take care of us. The hospital where my mother had died was affiliated with Sweden, which is how my sister and I came to be adopted by Ann Marie and Lennart Samuelsson.
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