Marcus Samuelsson
Marcus Samuelsson

UNICEF Ambassador since 2000

The owner and chef of Harlem's Red Rooster restaurant, Marcus Samuelsson has been celebrated as one of "The Great Chefs of America" by the Culinary Institute of America. Marcus has authored a collection of successful cookbooks and recently released his memoir, Yes, Chef, in June 2012. Marcus has also appeared on numerous TV shows including Today, Charlie Rose, Iron Chef, and Bravo's Top Chef Masters in which he beat out 21 fellow chefs to take first place.

Since his appointment as a UNICEF Ambassador in 2000, Marcus has been particularly committed to supporting UNICEF's water and sanitation programs.


UNICEF's Relief Efforts for the Horn of Africa

In the summer of 2011, Horn of Africa countries including Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti began facing their worst drought in 60 years, and the UN declared famine in regions of southern Somalia. In response to the "most severe humanitarian crisis in the world," Marcus hosted a Twitter chat with prominent chefs to discuss what the food community could do to help address and raise awareness about the crisis. Each participant also donated two items for an accompanying online auction to benefit UNICEF’s emergency relief efforts for the millions of children threatened by the drought and famine.

UNICEF Snowflake Ball

Marcus has been an integral part of the UNICEF Snowflake Ball held annually in New York City, where he has created an exceptional dinner menu multiple times. At the 2011 UNICEF Snowflake Ball, two private dinners prepared by Marcus Samuelsson were featured as auction items that sold for $33,000 each, generating $66,000 to benefit UNICEF.

UNICEF Tap Project

A strong advocate for UNICEF's water and sanitation programs, Marcus filmed several UNICEF videos for 2011 Tap Project volunteers and participating restaurants, as well as actively raised awareness about the campaign on his social and digital platforms. He is also an honorary member of the Restaurant Advisory Committee, a group of highly successful and committed restaurant owners, general managers, and chefs who advise on the implementation and execution of the UNICEF Tap Project. In 2010, Marcus donated the $115,000 in winnings from his Top Chef Masters victory to the UNICEF Tap Project.

UNICEF Field Visits

In January 2001 and 2004, Marcus visited UNICEF-assisted programs in Ethiopia. Since witnessing UNICEF’s lifesaving work in the field, he has participated in a variety of UNICEF campaigns and fundraisers, often finding a way to combine his passion for cooking with philanthropy