Chef Mar­cus Sa­muels­son, Soc­cer Fa­natic

He’s cooked for the pres­i­dent and won James Beard awards, but the tro­phies chef Mar­cus Sa­muels­son is most proud of are those he’s earned with his lo­cal New York soc­cer club, Blatte United. Sa­muels­son, who runs more than 20 restau­rants in­ter­na­tion­ally, say

Bloomberg Pursuits - - Seek — Hobbyist - Words CHARLES THORP Pho­to­graph JAMIE CHUNG


There are a lot of sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween play­ing soc­cer and work­ing in a kitchen. As much as I love run­ning or ten­nis, those are mostly ac­tiv­i­ties for a sin­gle per­son. There’s some­thing about the team ex­pe­ri­ence, where you lose to­gether or win to­gether. Those emo­tions are strong.


I play cen­ter mid­field, the con­necter be­tween de­fense and of­fense. You can af­fect a game the most, but from a mileage point of view, it’s the hard­est. Op­po­nents will say to me, “Move over, chef,” and then try to take me down. I love it—you can’t re­ally worry about day-to-day life when some 23-year-old’s try­ing to mow you down in the rain.


It’s more about play­ing with heart than play­ing with the new­est cleats. I al­ways think about African kids I visit— some have shoes that are three sizes too big, or boots, or are play­ing with no shoes at all. I never want to be that guy who says, “I didn’t win be­cause I didn’t have the right shoes.”


I hope one day to put fan­tas­tic food into a soc­cer sta­dium. I’m not sure fans would dig it—it’s not ex­actly what they care about. I also don’t un­der­stand why soc­cer’s never got­ten into tail­gat­ing. That’s some­thing Amer­ica can teach Europe. If you sug­gested tail­gat­ing to peo­ple in Liv­er­pool, they’d have no clue what you were talk­ing about.

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