Chef Marcus Samuelsson Dishes on Honeyland, Houston’s New Black Food and New music Festival

Marcus Samuelsson is no stranger to Houston. The Ethiopian-Swedish chef has visited Houston in years previous, checking out the West African food scene in an episode of PBS’ No Passport Essential. Now, he’s returning to the Houston area this November, bringing Honeyland — what could be one of the largest foods, new music, and spirits festivals in the U.S. to investigate and rejoice African American society and creativity. In a recent job interview, Eater Houston asked Samuelsson to dish on the festival foods lineup, and why Houston, of all destinations — nevertheless absolutely deserving — is the ideal destination for these kinds of an event.

We have heard so considerably about Honeyland. Initial, we’ve obtained to question: why Houston?

Marcus Samuelsson: Houston is an extraordinary meals metropolis. It is one of the most varied in The us, with the most restaurants. We needed to have this competition exactly where we understood hospitality was seriously good and assorted and celebrate the greatest expression of Black tradition.

And why the name Honeyland?

Well, I feel some of it has to do with Sugar Land and just the point that it’s a terrific, catchy title. It is entertaining, and I consider it is a name that states this competition, which will be in Houston, will be sticky, hot, and scrumptious.

Hold out, does this mean Honeyland is right here in the Houston space to remain? Or will it rotate all-around other U.S. cities?

Allow us get through the initial one [laughs]. We’re very proud of this collaboration — to be bringing the greatest of entertainment and the very best of food stuff, and ideally, we can do it all again. But very first, our objective is to throw a great songs festival in November.

It’s been your career to strategy and curate the foods and culinary programming for Honeyland. What has been your criteria for picking culinary expertise?

The staff I’m doing work with has been wonderful. There have been hundreds of persons who have collaborated to deliver one thing particular, and we really feel that foodstuff and entertainment have been functioning together forever. Musicians have generally occur to our restaurants and supported chefs, and cooks, we have been a portion of the new music group, too. We go out frequently to see amusement and performances.

What we also identified is that a whole lot of entertainers are also in the food items or wine place. Singer Mary J. Blige has her personal wine. Podcast host Angela Yee has her individual espresso store. We assumed that was an intriguing place and questioned how can we mix that. We also understood we needed local chefs and chefs from Texas like Houston’s Chris Williams on board so the pageant could definitely showcase the finest of Black expression. We also have Bun B and Tabitha Brown. We just wanted to mix songs with excellent food in the good state of Texas.

Searching at the lineup, there is an thrilling selection of talent scheduled. What can Houstonians and festivalgoers be expecting? And how would you say this is different than other food or music festivals?

It will be a terrific time, a great weekend total of mouth watering meals, and getting fun likely to stage-to-phase to see performances, but it’s also a location to understand — to uncover a new mixologist or for entrepreneurs or men and women commencing that food items truck to learn. “How did Bun B start out [Trill Burgers]?” for instance. It is a spot to explore and understand what other people’s journeys into the foodstuff environment ended up like. You may see some thing new that might inspire you. It’s also an opportunity and one particular of these pretty exclusive times to assemble with good friends and to do it in a put like Houston, where there is wonderful range and a background of excellent places to eat. I imagine a good deal of festivals are wonderful at foods and a whole lot are good at tunes, but to do it with a focus on African American culture, that is really special.

What are you most excited about?

I’m pretty, incredibly fired up about Scarface and Mary J. Blige when it comes to music. Z-Ro’s likely to be there! On the culinary facet, we seriously set a whole lot of time to dig into the roots in Texas, so that’s fascinating for us. I’m energized to dangle out with some of my chef close friends — I have a good deal of friends coming with me. I’m fired up to cook dinner with Tiffany Derry.

What happens so frequently when we do those situations, some of the most appealing things take place in the inexperienced area or guiding the scenes when chefs get to reconnect and persuade each and every other that we can do this. In African American tradition, foods and hospitality have usually been joined. Now, we can do it up out in the open up with this competition. We nevertheless have a lengthy way to go, but Honeyland is also a celebration of how considerably we’ve occur.

This job interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.