Dinner at Camino with Marcus Samuelsson

Camino Dinner with Marcus Samuelsson, July 11, 2012

Camino Dinner with Marcus Samuelsson, July 11, 2012

In Flamenco music, artists speak of Duende — the magical moment in a performance when the spirit of Flamenco comes out in the dance, song, or rhythms of the guitar. I am not sure what the culinary equivalent is, but last week at a special dinner in Oakland, I tasted the Duende that was created in Camino’s kitchen to honor Chef Marcus Samuelsson. And by the end of the evening, I was inspired by a truly memorable meal.

Thanks to a tweet by Omnivore Books, I found out about the event just before it sold out. And after picking up a copy of Yes, Chef and learning more about Marcus, I knew I had to go to the dinner. In many ways, his story reminded me of the cultural fusion in Peruvian cuisine, and I could only imagine the wonderful flavors that awaited from someone who was born in Ethiopia, grew up in Sweden, apprenticed in France, and now has a restaurant in Harlem.

The five-course menu for the evening was selected by Camino’s Chef Russell Moore, who told me that he chose dishes by Marcus that could be prepared in Camino’s kitchen which featured a fireplace as the center piece — perfect for grilling the duck breast. Throughout the evening, eating each dish was like listening to a song that told a story about Marcus, about where he came from, and about spices from around the world that were as diverse as his background.

It was also a pleasure to hear Marcus talk about the cultural parallels between Oakland and Harlem and what a privilege it was for him to be with us that night. I hope he realizes that the privilege was ours to have him share his love for food with us. And I hope he comes back soon, Oakland is only a bridge away from San Francisco but I won’t hesitate to make a special trip to the Red Rooster in Harlem to enjoy more meals from one of my favorite chefs.

For more about Marcus Samuelsson’s visit to the Bay Area, read his post on Food Republic →
Last year, Food Republic also had this to say about Camino and Chef Russell Moore →