By MICKI SIEGEL
New York Post
There are numerous reasons why chef Marcus Samuelsson, owner of Harlem hot spot Red Rooster, loves his apartment. For one thing, it’s smack in the heart of Harlem, where he’s wanted to live ever since he was a boy growing up in Sweden. For another, it boasts a copper Blue Star stove, which he calls the “best of the best.” And for still another, he has plenty of room to create recipes.
But the main reason he loves his home is because it’s where he first met his wife, Gate Haile (he calls her Maya).
It was 2005; Samuelsson was one of the first buyers in the new condo building. His choice: a duplex with 1,100 square feet on each floor, 14-foot ceilings and an 800-square-foot patio. He paid, he says, around $1 million. He gave the apartment two important additions. The first was the Blue Star stove.
The 800-square-foot patio of Marcus Samuelsson’s condo includes “a whole kitchen,” with a grill, a stove and more.
“It’s really for chefs,” he says. “It has the highest BTUs of any stove. I test recipes in my kitchen. The idea of a dish starts here, and then I execute it at the restaurant.”
The other addition was another stove — on the patio.“It’s a whole kitchen out there,” Samuelsson says. “It’s a grill, a stovetop and a salamander [another grill with very high heat].”
Both those kitchens and all that 2,200 square feet of space were originally for just Samuelsson himself. At that point, he hadn’t even met Haile. He filled the apartment with antiques and quirky pieces he’d accumulated over the years.
“Not long after I moved in and finished the apartment, I decided to have a housewarming party,” he says. “That was when I met Maya. Someone brought her. She’s a model, about 6 feet tall and stunning. But the main thing that attracted me is that she’s a very sweet girl.”
One thing led to another, and the couple (who were both born in Ethiopia and returned there for their 2009 wedding) soon moved in together.
“I brought all the furniture myself,” Samuelsson says. “All that was left for Maya to bring in was televisions and computers. And if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t even have a television set.”
TVs aside, there’s no question that the apartment fulfilled many of Samuelsson’s longtime dreams.
“I think this building has one foot in the past and one foot in the future,” he says. “It looks old from the outside, but it’s very modern on the inside.
“I always wanted loft space. I work very thematically. Before I create a recipe, I
write down the concept of what I’m making. Then I paint those ideas — I make a collage.”
He points to a painting he did of some 1940s musicians.
“Those people didn’t have much money, they ate fried chicken feet and had a good time,” he says.
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