We’ll have what he’s having. Marcus Samuelsson’s culinary kingdom is not unlike Warhol’s enduring world. Both were anointed by their respective academies at an early age (at 23, the James Beard Foundation awarded Samuelsson its coveted Rising Star Chef Award). And both secured their place as cultural icons by serving the elite and the mainstream with equal fervor. Seven restaurants (including Red Rooster), a cookware collection, a line of teas, multiple endorsement deals, and four cookbooks including a New York Times best-selling memoir, Yes, Chef, have made this pop star the perfect person to weigh-in on Warhol.
What was your first Warholian moment, and when did you first encounter him?
At my sister’s apartment. I remember walking in and seeing a poster of Andy’s tomato soup cans. It wasn’t even her apartment but I remember MTV playing on TV and a Warhol poster on the wall and that was the epitome of cool for me.
What or who would be Andy’s muse if he were alive today?
Janelle Monáe, Kanye and Gaga.
What are your latest cultural obsessions?
Great ethnic food in strip malls. Just visited Little Saigon outside of LA.
What would you consider Warhol’s most memorable quote or anthem?
“In the future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” Isn’t that what Facebook is doing to us?
If you could collaborate with Andy on a project, what would it be?
Oh, that’s easy. I would want to design a restaurant with Andy. In fact, when we opened Rooster, there was so much of his influence in the place: we wanted it to be all about New York, cool, unexpected and artistic…everything that makes Andy Warhol.
Dream dinner-party: you, Warhol, and…?
Imagine Warhol had a Twitter account. What kind of thing might he say in 140 characters or less?
“Got lost in Harlem and never coming home”
Whose portrait would Andy most want to do now?
Soup Can or Coke bottle?
Drag every day or only on special occasions?
If we’re talking about me, only on Halloween. (I’m too short to rock it every day.)