Since opening in 2017, Baha Mar has become a center of gastronomy in the Bahamian capital of Nassau. With over 40 restaurants and bars, the resort has lured some of the worlds leading chefs, including Katsuya Uechi and Daniel Boulud, to name a few. Now, six-time James Beard Awardwinning chef Marcus Samuelsson joins the resorts collection of culinarians with this summers debut of Marcus at Baha Mar Fish + Chop House.
While developing the concept, Samuelsson spent nearly four years learning about Bahamian culture and meeting with local purveyors. The result? A deeply collaborative menu reflective of native ingredients with an innovative take on Caribbean comfort food. Think fried chicken with sour orange hot honey or tuna tartare with cassava chips. Yes, youll find his signature Marcuss Cornbread on the table, but here it comes with a spice-infused rum-spiked butter.
We spoke with Samuelsson to learn more about his new restaurant in the Bahamas and his hopes for creating a more inclusive industry through intention and empathy.
Why the Bahamas?
We get a lot of opportunities in front of us, and before we say yes, we have got to like [the location]. A great location for me means Whats the path towards opportunity? So, looking at farming, looking at fishing, looking at cooking school here, I said, OK, this makes sense! And with a place like Baha Mar, I wanted to make sure that we have something experientialnot just a great restaurant, it has to be an experience.
With restaurants in Newark, Harlem, Overtown, Bermuda, and now the Bahamas, why is it important for you to open in predominantly Black destinations?
Its important to acknowledge your privilege, right? When I left Aquavit, I did a lot of soul searching about my role as a Black chef. I want to figure out how I can open up more doors, specifically in the African diaspora.
Weve been very strategic with Harlem, with Overtown. We feel proud to work with the cultures and the history, but also to provide jobs locally. For a chef of any color, but specifically for chefs of color, you must figure out where in the industry you fit. Our restaurants have become the hub for that.
Tell us about your process of learning about Bahamian culture.
When I say it takes four years [to open a restaurant], one year could just be researching. Islands are not monolithic. We have to be very respectful . . . and we have to learn the culture. We pay homage to that, and it shows up on the menu. We eat at restaurants. We go to markets, and we go with local people. Our goal is to make the menu relatable to locals and unique for visitors, too.
What are some of the Bahamian ingredients youre loving right now?
Sour oranges! It might not be a big thing for locals, but its a big thing for me. So, we marinate in that. Then there is this incredible hydroponic farm [in Nassau] where we get fresh herbs and tomatoes.
Locals take pride because they see themselves in the food. We have a hot sauce that we do with passion fruit that came from them. The pickles on our fish, that came from them. They say, Oh, these pickles are my aunties pickles! Its been really fun.
How do you find balance in blending your cultural experience and culinary expertise with local cultures?
Coming from two backgrounds allows me to have windows into Ethiopia, or Africa, or Scandinavian Sweden. When youve grown up through it, you dont know that eventually that can become an assetits about empathy.
When we do the conch salad, I dont touch a thing. I may present it with dry ice or something like that, but in terms of the flavor, I dont dare go near it because [the locals] are the ones that know. Im not coming with my menu set, and I dont think I would have that sensitivity if I say, Im a Swedish chef. Heres the Swedish food. Im an American now, and Im from African culture. Its about sensibilities and sensitivities.
What do you hope it brings to the Bahamian community to have a celebrated Black chef open a restaurant here?
As a Black chef with a large platform, its about that intersection of inspire and aspire. Having the privileges and the opportunities that I have, it comes down to how I hire. Here, we started with a big open kitchen, because then its very clear who works in the kitchen. When you have someone like chef Garrette [Bowe]shes the chef, and shes a localits not a coincidence.
Pastry chefs, servers, cooks, bartenders: These people dont have to leave the island to have the best opportunities. Someone can learn sushi from chef Katsuya and the best French cooking from chef Daniel, and now you can come down here and work with us.
Marcus at Baha Mar Fish + Chop House is now open for dinner at Baha Mar (1 Baha Mar Blvd., Nassau). Reservations are recommended and can be made online.
>> Next:The Bahamas Is Open for Travel, With Restrictions
- Collin Morikawa's Meltdown in the Bahamas Was Totally Out of Character - Sports Illustrated - December 7th, 2021
- This $100 Million Private Island in the Bahamas Comes Fully Furnished and Move-In Ready - robbreport.com - December 7th, 2021
- The wildest place in the Bahamas - The Boston Globe - December 7th, 2021
- Tiger Woods spotted hitting drivers on range in Bahamas - Golf Channel - December 7th, 2021
- Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson Penalized for Bizarre Rules Mishap in the Bahamas - Sports Illustrated - December 7th, 2021
- 2021 Bahamas Bowl teams: Who is playing in the Bahamas on December 17th - DraftKings Nation - December 7th, 2021
- Rory McIlroy part of 3-way tie for lead in the Bahamas - Minneapolis Star Tribune - December 7th, 2021
- U.S. Coast Guard District 7 Commander Visits Bahamas; U.S. Delivers $200K Boat to RBDF - US Embassy in The Bahamas - December 7th, 2021
- Top 5 Beaches In The Bahamas To Visit For 2022 - Travel Off Path - December 7th, 2021
- Barbadian, new head of women's football in The Bahamas | Loop Cayman Islands - Loop News Cayman - December 7th, 2021
- ROLL OUT THE RED CARPET: Cotton Bay Holdings bringing Ritz-Carlton brand to The Bahamas - EyeWitness News - December 7th, 2021
- Utah Jazz Owner Ryan Smith To Caddie For Tony Finau In Bahamas This Week - KSL Sports - December 7th, 2021
- VCU Rams ready to take on Syracuse in the Bahamas - Richmond Free Press - November 25th, 2021
- Indiana Women's Basketball Ballin' in the Bahamas on Turkey Day - CalBearsMaven - November 25th, 2021
- U.S. delivers $255000 in health equipment to The Bahamas - EyeWitness News - November 25th, 2021
- Team Bahamas back in the win column - Bahamas Tribune - November 25th, 2021
- Mississippi State men's basketball focused on boosting resume at Baha Mar Hoops Bahamas Championship - Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal - November 25th, 2021
- Oklahoma Takes Down Minnesota in The Bahamas - Sooner Maven - November 23rd, 2021
- Escape To Atlantis Paradise Island In The Bahamas With Help From The Travel Mom - KXAN.com - November 23rd, 2021
- U.S. Delivers $255000 in Health Equipment to The Bahamas - US Embassy in The Bahamas - November 23rd, 2021
- WSU stays perfect before Bahamas The Daily Evergreen - The Daily Evergreen - November 23rd, 2021
- Felisha Legette-Jack and her Buffalo Bulls beat Syracuse womens basketball in the Bahamas - syracuse.com - November 23rd, 2021
- Minnis defends early election call in The Bahamas - Nation News - November 23rd, 2021
- What we learned from UConn's weekend in Bahamas: Fudd's growth, inconsistent post play, bench issues - Thehour.com - November 23rd, 2021
- Kiki Passo Takes An Outdoor Shower In Tiny Bikini In The Bahamas - The Blast - November 23rd, 2021
- 9 of the Best Caribbean Cocktails Inspired by The Bahamas - The Manual - November 19th, 2021
- Asher on Aspen: Cruising the Bahamas | AspenTimes.com - Aspen Times - November 19th, 2021
- WATCH: Serena Williams Compares Her Singing With Sister Lyndrea During a Vacation in The Bahamas - EssentiallySports - November 19th, 2021
- UNTRUE: Former public service minister hits back at claims of election hiring - EyeWitness News - November 19th, 2021
- MOH receives $1 million in PPE from Canada - Magnetic Media - November 19th, 2021
- The Bahamas is now a safer Country for American Visitors - November 17th, 2021
- Coalition to stop Grand Bahama power price increase - Bahamas Tribune - November 17th, 2021
- FACE TO FACE: Holding hands with Havana - Bahamas Tribune - November 17th, 2021
- ALL BETS ARE OFF: FNM to hold full convention next February - EyeWitness News - November 17th, 2021
- SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT?: All Beaches and Parks contracts to be cancelled and reissued - EyeWitness News - November 17th, 2021
- VAXX GOALS: Govt. aims for 200000 vaccinated by end of year - EyeWitness News - November 17th, 2021
- Teresa Giudice ex husband Joe thinks her new fiancee is "great" - MSN UK - November 17th, 2021
- PETER YOUNG: Still we remember and salute the fallen's sacrifice - Bahamas Tribune - November 17th, 2021
- Gov't in talks over who pays for COVID testing - Bahamas Tribune - November 17th, 2021
- The Bahamas: 'If we give up now, all hope is lost' - the island in desperate need of climate justice - Sky News - November 15th, 2021
- Bahamas Ministry of Health & Wellness receives $1M in PPE from Canada - EyeWitness News - November 15th, 2021
- CONTINUING TO IMPROVE: Cable Bahamas sees 11% revenue rise in Q1; CEO aims at digital transformation push - EyeWitness News - November 15th, 2021
- Queen's absence from COP sparks call for her to be REMOVED as Bahama's head of state - Daily Express - November 15th, 2021
- Here Are Restart Dates for the Remainder of the Carnival Fleet - Cruise Industry News - November 15th, 2021
- DR FAUCI WEIGHS IN: US medical expert speaks on when he sees pandemic being declared over - EyeWitness News - November 15th, 2021
- 'SHE WAS A SWEETHEART': Four-year-old girl dies after alleged assault - EyeWitness News - November 15th, 2021
- Boris slammed for 'abandoning' Commonwealth in COP talks: 'Slap in the face for us - Daily Express - November 15th, 2021
- Cable and Gov't hit by $41m Aliv losses - Bahamas Tribune - November 15th, 2021
- ACTION PLAN: Govt moving quickly to address revenue administration reform and modernization, says minister - EyeWitness News - November 15th, 2021
- Amendment to VAT legislation tabled in House - Bahamas Tribune - November 15th, 2021
- Stephan Forrester Obituary (1976 - 2021) - Somerville, TN - The Daily Memphian - Legacy.com - November 15th, 2021
- Landed in The Bahamas - Bahamas Tribune - October 30th, 2021
- Crystal Endeavor and Crystal Serenity meet in The Bahamas - Cruise Adviser - October 30th, 2021
- NORTHCOM Commander VanHerck Delivers Radar System to RBDF - US Embassy in The Bahamas - October 30th, 2021
- MIGRANTS CAUGHT ON YACHT: Police investigate smuggling of mixed bag of nationals into The Bahamas - EyeWitness News - October 30th, 2021
- Who needs the Headless Horseman Bridge? We've got the Ashley Gang's final stop | Opinion - TCPalm - October 30th, 2021
- First round of board appointments revealed - Bahamas Tribune - October 30th, 2021
- Jens Thraenhart will assume charge as new chief executive of the Bahamas tourist board - writeups24 - October 30th, 2021
- Last chance to ride behind steam locomotive 45596 Bahamas this year - RailAdvent - Railway News - October 30th, 2021
- Updated Requirements for Air Travelers to the United States - US Embassy in The Bahamas - October 30th, 2021
- STILL UNDER CONSIDERATION: No decision yet on BPL's rate reduction bond, says works minister - EyeWitness News - October 30th, 2021
- DIANE PHILLIPS: From here to Glasgow - Bahamas Tribune - October 30th, 2021
- Govt unsure if it will carry on with Abaco domes plan - Bahamas Tribune - October 30th, 2021
- Wildhaber Shoots into Top 10 in Bahamas University of Iowa Athletics - University of Iowa Athletics - October 24th, 2021
- IU basketball's trip to The Bahamas cost six figures and was paid for by program donors - IndyStar - October 24th, 2021
- New Providence in The Bahamas Is the Small Island With Big Flavors - Bon Appetit - October 24th, 2021
- Notes: Hawkeyes Head to the Bahamas University of Iowa Athletics - University of Iowa Athletics - October 24th, 2021
- Op-Ed: The future of finance in The Bahamas - EyeWitness News - October 24th, 2021
- Top 7 Places To Visit In The Bahamas - Travel Off Path - October 24th, 2021
- Central Bank of the Bahamas Releases New $100 Banknote - CoinWeek - October 24th, 2021
- Iowa golf programs hit the road for final fall events - UI The Daily Iowan - October 24th, 2021
- RECUSED TO AVOID CONFLICT: Sears says any deliberations on former BPL board matter would be left for AG - EyeWitness News - October 24th, 2021
- WATCH WHAT YOU'RE EATING: BAHFSA issues cautionary recall of ProSource onions from Mexico - EyeWitness News - October 24th, 2021
- Wealthy buyers snap up luxury villas in the Caribbean and Mexico - New York Post - October 24th, 2021
- Karol G Shows Off Bronzed Physique In White Bikini In The Bahamas - The Blast - October 24th, 2021
- Bryson DeChambeau Is Hitting Bombs and Enjoying the Beach While Vacationing in the Bahamas - EssentiallySports - October 24th, 2021
- Farewell to giants of tourism - Bahamas Tribune - October 24th, 2021
- A Family First: Kai and Kas to Share Opening Night Together - Brooklynnets.com - October 24th, 2021
- BILLS ON THE AGENDA: Govt to prioritize VAT reduction, pension increase and merchant shipping - EyeWitness News - October 24th, 2021
- Grand Bahama's first neurosurgery performed at Rand Memorial Hospital - Bahamas Tribune - October 24th, 2021