Marcus Samuelsson is the acclaimed chef behind many restaurants worldwide including Red Rooster Harlem, MARCUS Montreal, and Marcus B&P in Newark. Samuelsson was the youngest person to receive a three-star review from The New York Times and was the guest chef for the Obama Administration’s first state dinner. He has won multiple James Beard Foundation Awards including Best Chef: New York City and Outstanding Personality for No Passport Required, his television series with VOX/Eater. Samuelsson was crowned champion of Top Chef Masters and Chopped All Stars, he was the winning mentor on The Taste and and he is also an executive producer of Viceland’s HUSTLE. He currently serves as Executive Chef in Residence of Buzzfeed Tasty’s newly launched talent program.
Samuelsson is the author of multiple books including The New York Times bestselling memoir Yes, Chef. Recipes from his latest book, The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem, are also featured in his new Audible original, Our Harlem: Seven Days of Cooking, Music and Soul at the Red Rooster. A committed philanthropist, Samuelsson is co-chair of Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) an enrichment program for underserved youth. He also co-produces the annual week-long festival Harlem EatUp!, which celebrates the food, art, and culture of Harlem. He is the recipient of the 2019 Vilcek Foundation Prize in Culinary Arts, awarded to immigrants who have made lasting contributions to American Society.
Marvin’s constant cravings are for fresh ingredients and fresh perspectives. Having grown up in the sunny Carolinas, a random trip alone to Central America 20 years ago stoked within Marvin a passion for taking deep dives into diverse culinary traditions and musical expressions around the globe. Upon returning stateside, Marvin immediately zoomed in on Latin American and Caribbean culture as a scholastic focus at The University of South Carolina where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and was inducted into a Spanish language honor society.
After a stint as a congressional aide with the US House of Representatives, Marvin penned his debut book Silence Makes the Loudest Sound, which became a commercial success. During this time, Marvin took a job as a server at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse to abet his income during the book tour. This adventure in fine dining was merely meant to be a means to an end but ended up taking a life of its own as Marvin was catapulted to the pinnacles of restaurant leadership and became popular among the who’s who of hospitality excellence.
Marvin attributes his rapid ascent in the realms of hospitality to an unwavering adherence to one simple principle: “Whoever is in front of us at any given moment is the most important person in the world at that moment.” Marvin went on to earn a wine credentialing distinction with The Court of Master Sommeliers and played a pivotal role in the opening of Napa on Providence in Charlotte, NC. As a dynamic empowerment specialist and thriving author, Marvin has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and on NPR and BBC Radio Worldwide. Marvin believes that the enduring human spirit embedded within Red Rooster’s concept creates a unique opportunity for his team to feed more than bellies through palate-elevating recipes. “We also have an opportunity to feed and elevate the soul of our community,” he expresses. Marvin currently resides in the heart of Overtown and the celebration of this community’s rich cultural history and the revitalization of its quality of life makes this endeavor much more than a job for Marvin—this is his life’s calling.
Chef Tristen Epps combines his classic training and international travel experiences to cultivate a unique and nuanced globally influenced palate. Born of Trinidadian heritage and the child of an active-duty military mom, whose stations included Guam, Japan, and the Philippines, Tristen’s passion for unique cuisine began at a young age. His passion carried through a bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts and Food & Beverage Industry Management at Johnson & Wales University and a grueling three-year culinary apprenticeship at the renowned Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia.
Tristen has worked in kitchens across the United States and three continents, cooking alongside celebrated chefs such as Richard Rosendale, Thomas Keller, and Marcus Samuelsson. Samuelsson first became Tristen’s mentor on ABC’s The Taste, where he came in second. On the show, Samuelsson called him the best chef of the competition, offered him a ticket to New York and a job at his restaurant. Tristen’s subsequent three years with Samuelsson were the most pivotal of his career, working alongside Samuelsson at his restaurants in New York, Washington D.C., Bermuda and Sweden and now Miami.
Tristen’s skills have been widely recognized including being crowned champion on Food Network’s popular show, Chopped. One of his signature dishes was featured on the Cooking Channel’s Best Thing I Ever Ate, and he was highlighted in Bon Appetit Magazine as the creator of one of the best five meals of Carla Hall’s life. He is thrilled to be Chef De Cuisine at Red Rooster Overtown and immerse himself in the history and culture of the neighborhood.
Donnamarie Baptiste is a Cultural Producer, Strategist and Curator who is highly experienced in arts management, live performances and events. She has worked with artists, organizations and corporations across disciplines and genres on brand strategy, public art, special artist projects and high-profile events. Working to build community connections through art and culture, Baptiste has worked with non-profit and for-profit organizations, and organizes exhibitions in traditional and non-traditional spaces. She has held roles in programming, marketing, operations and production with creative organizations including Art Basel, The Armory Show and Creative Time. She has worked with interesting and diverse clients that include Magic Leap, Arteza, Lexus, CASACOR, LVMH, Bacardi, and Absolut.
Born to musician parents, her passion for vinyl records led to regular DJ gigs in New York City and South Beach while pursuing her work in the arts. She has produced numerous live music performances for artists that range from De La Soul and Metric to Jason Moran and The Roots. Her most recent work focuses on community-based initiatives: exhibitions, corporate philanthropy and collaborations between international artists and local creative communities. She is currently on the board of Oolite Arts, working to bring a world-class arts institution to Miami’s Little River / Little Haiti communities. Her love of vintage dresses, dark chocolate and Caribbean food know no bounds.