About Marcus Samuelsson, Ginny’s Supper Club and Red Rooster, Harlem
Food, glorious, food! I adore it almost as much as I adore travel. Oh, and shoes (but that’s a story for another day). If you are a foodie, you probably know the name Marcus Samuelsson…Chef Marcus Samuelsson, to be exact. If you don’t know him, you’ve got to pick up a copy of his memoir. His personal story is fascinating. He was born in Ethiopia and is one of nineteen children. At the age of one, Marcus, his sister Linda and his mother all contracted Tuberculosis. Sadly, his mother passed away from the disease. He and Linda were subsequently adopted and raised in Sweden. His passion for food ignited while helping his Grandmother Helga, every Saturday afternoon, in her kitchen. He studied culinary arts in Sweden, apprenticed in Switzerland & France and, finally, made the move to New York City in 1994. He apprenticed at Aquavit, worked his way up to Executive Chef and gained fame, merely one year later, for receiving two three-star ratings from the New York Times, at the age of twenty-three. He was the youngest chef ever to do so, at the time. His dream of melding American comfort/soul food with Swedish/African notes became a reality in 2010 with the opening of Red Rooster Harlem, on 125th and Lenox Avenue. Marcus won Top Chef Masters Season 2 in 2010 and served as guest chef for the Obama administration’s first State Dinner. Trust me, you so want to eat at this guy’s place.
“I want this to be a place where people from all walks of life break bread together.”-Chef Marcus Samuelsson
“Red Rooster’s arrival in Harlem brought with it a chef who has reinvigorated and reimagined what it means to be American. In his famed dishes, and now in this memoir, Marcus Samuelsson tells a story that reaches past racial and national divides to the foundations of family, hope, and downright good food.”- Former President, Bill Clinton
In 2012, he and Andrew Chapman added Ginny’s Supper Club downstairs, in tribute to the Harlem Renaissance. The supper club pays homage to Harlem speakeasies of the twenties. It’s a chic little lounge with an intimate feel. The room pulses with the soulful spirit of a past era, reinvigorated. Live music, one-of-a-kind cocktails and warm wait staff inspire great conversation, belly laughs and a few tears at the incredible talent of the performers.
How Did This Gospel Brunch Idea Come About?
Last August, my husband turned fifty.
50. The big 5-O. Fitty.
He didn’t turn the bad kind of fitty, er…fifty, where everyone buys you adult diapers, over-the-hill toilet paper and other, deeply depressing, gifts. No, this is the shiny new fifty; the fifty of “Sure, you can drink six more of those!” and “Of course you can eat that without taking your *Pepcid!” and “Just don’t eat the blue ones.” (I kid!) This is the fifty where you receive a whirlwind weekend getaway in New York City, with people as cool as the cast of St. Elmo’s Fire…and, most importantly, you actually know what St. Elmo’s Fire is because, with fifty, comes wisdom!
Yes, friends, this is the fifty with a monkey (he’s the short one, in the above “party animal” photo)! The fifty where Yankees star, Derek Jeter, presents your birthday cake on a chic Manhattan rooftop:
Okay, okay, it’s not Derek Jeter. I’m on a limited budget. I got the next best thing. A great kid in a Yankees shirt.
But there was this:
I knew I wanted to do a few special things for hubby, while we were in NYC. We had an intimate rooftop celebration (with cake!) followed by a delicious birthday dinner at Peking Duck House in Chinatown. On a family member’s advice, we caught some improv at Upright Citizens Brigade in Chelsea (well worth the $5 ticket to get in). We walked The Highline Park at night. We drank waaaaay too much beer.
But there was one more thing I knew The Caffeinated Hubby would want to try. This fifty included gospel brunch in Harlem!
Vy Higginsen’s Gospel for Teens Choir at Ginny’s Supper Club
In 2006, acclaimed writer and producer Vy Higginsen, along with gospel luminary Emily “Cissy” Houston (yes, Whitney’s momma), teamed up to create the award-winning Mama Foundation for the Arts. Out of this came Vy Higginsen’s School of Gospel, Jazz and R&B Arts, educating aspiring teenagers on the importance of gospel music as an art. Every Sunday the perfect pairing happens in Harlem. Vy Higginsen’s kids perform at Marcus Samuelsson’s supper club. It is magic.
To watch 60 Minutes’ fascinating three part documentary on the choir, click here.
We had a fantastic time at Red Rooster/Ginny’s Supper Club and with Vy Higginsen’s Gospel for Teens Choir!
The food is incredible!With menu items such as:
- Deviled Eggs with chicken skin mayo & caviar (I dream about these, nightly, and fantasize about them, every afternoon. (In fact, I am right now ;P)
- Mac N’ Greens with smoked gouda, NY Cheddar & caramelized onions
- (Grandma) Helga’s Meatballs (Yes, with lingonberries!)
- Biscuits & Gravy (I mean, really…)
Get yourself to Red Rooster! There is a strict no-reservations policy. First seating is at 10.30am, second seating 12.30pm. The bar is open for Bloody Mary’s, Red Eye Rooster’s (a Bloody Mary with Beer) or, my own personal brunch beverage favorite, coffee!
Do yourself a favor. Buy one of Marcus Samuelsson’s cookbooks! Make his food! Thank me, later!
Have You Been to Red Rooster/ Ginny’s Supper Club? What Do You Think About Gospel Brunch? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!
Until next time, happy day tripping!
*Pepcid, though ingested liberally by The Caffeinated Day Tripper, is in no way endorsed by Erin. She is not a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, witch doctor, acupuncturist or spiritual healer. Never EVER take her medical advice. You’ll probably die. Really painfully.