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Celebrity chef has life lessons for students

Having a ball: celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson had an engaging time with students, discussing the benefits of the hospitality industry (Photograph supplied)

International celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson told schoolchildren yesterday that the hospitality industry was about more than just cooking.

Mr Samuelsson told pupils at Pembroke’s Dellwood Middle School that the sector offered the chance to travel, meet people from all over the world and helped to break down cultural barriers.

Mr Samuelsson, who heads Marcus’ restaurant at the Hamilton Princess and Beach Club, said just before his talk: “Hospitality is an amazing field, it gives you an opportunity to connect with others, to travel and to learn.

“Breaking bread has always been the centre of cultural understanding.

“That is how I look at my job — breaking bread with people and breaking down barriers.”

He added: “Maybe one day you can go to work in Stockholm or Japan or London and bring those skills back home or you can stay abroad and create the brand of Bermudian hospitality there.

“It is an inspiring field and there will always be work for you — there is work everywhere. That is a luxury. It is up to you to evolve.”

Mr Samuelsson said that curiosity was the most important skill to have in a career in food and hospitality.

He added: “The day I stop being curious about food and people I shouldn’t be doing this any more.

“I am just as curious today as I was when I was 16 and I am 47 now.

“There is always something to change. I go on one trip every year when I go to learn something. “Last year, I was studying about rice noodles in Cambodia.”

Mr Samuelsson added: “You also need passion and a good work ethic.

You have to be around people who have an amazing work ethic and the rest will come. You have to engage a lot. This is a creative field and it is a field for givers. If you like to share, then this is a great industry.”

Mr Samuelsson said it was also important for those in the industry to have people to look up to.

He added one of his biggest inspirations was Leah Chase, the owner of Dooky Chase’s, a restaurant that became a centre of the civil rights movement. Mr Samuelsson said: “To be a female chef in the 1940s in the American South, she had to break the law in order to do what is right. For me she is a hero.”

He was joined at the Dellwood event by Richard Zuill, a Bermudian sous chef at Marcus’ restaurant and Tim Morrison, the Hamilton Princess’s general manager. Mr Samuelsson will also hold a closed event at the Bermuda College on Saturday, where three culinary students will compete for a contract at Marcus’.

Members of the public can watch Mr Samuelsson with students at Bermuda College at the @MarcusBermuda Instagram account

Both events are part of Hamilton Princess’s drive to encourage young people to pursue careers in hospitality.