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CNBC “Make It” Talks Building A $75 Million Culinary Empire

Written by on 1 Mar 2021

When Marcus Samuelsson was working as a chef in France, he was told that he’d never own a restaurant because there weren’t any Black-owned businesses with the ambition that he had. This propelled him to move to America where he had seen Black excellence and was motivated to bring his vision to life. Today that dream resides in Harlem and has become one of New York City’s most famous restaurants.

Born in Ethiopia, he was separated from his parents during the Civil War in 1974 and subsequently adopted by Swedish parents. After spending his entire youth cooking alongside his grandmother, he developed the chops to work in kitchens around the world. Since then he’s been an immigrant six times, but laid his roots in America where he opened 23 restaurants and employed 2,000 people under normal circumstances.

When Covid struck New York City he quickly turned his restaurant into a community kitchen and began donating meals to essential workers and some of the hardest hit communities of color. His efforts kept much of his staff employed and fed over 250,000 people in need. CNBC’s Make It tells the full story in this video below.


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