Marcus Samuelsson was born in a hut in rural Ethiopia. The size of the hut, he describes, was like that of two combined restaurant tables and he lived in it with six other persons. When he was only three years, he and his sister survived tuberculosis but the disease claimed his mother’s life.
He was adopted by Swedish couple Ann Marie and Lennart Samuelsson and soon learned how to cook from his adopted grandmother Helga, Samuelsson says in his memoir, “Yes, Chef”, which pays a glowing tribute to his Swedish family.
“We were jarring, pickling, there was always a bowl of chicken soup ready to be served, there was always sausage ready to be made,” he says, according to NPR. “She [Helga] was incessant all year round with cooking. … It was really in those rituals that my love for food was built.” Read more here.