SUR LA TERRE : Merkato 55


In 2008, the Swiss-based luxury magazine decided to bring their high style vision stateside for a New York premier. I was asked to be Editor-in-Chief from 2008-2010 during which time I oversaw the production of each publication from the drawing board to the newsstand. As a proponent of a sophisticated, international lifestyle, I was asked to explore and predict the next wave in metropolitan tastemaking trends rather than to merely report on them. The magazine featured reviews of the top New York restaurants, hotels, boutiques and soirées as well as the latest happenings in London, Doha, Moscow, Monaco, Zurich and Dubai.

Merkato 55

Spanning the culinary continent from Morocco to Mozambique, Merkato 55 is the love child of chef Marcus Samuelsson. Fathered by his Ethiopian roots and mothered by his Swedish upbringing, this new bi-level African brasserie celebrates the crusading epicurean’s discoveries while traversing the continent for his award-winning cookbook “The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa.” Crafted by Samuelsson and executed by executive chef Andrea Bergquist, Merkato 55’s menu draws on flavors, ingredients and dishes introduced to Africa, the Caribbean and South America by traders and merchants from Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and India. For example, the menu features Kidogo (Swahili for “little bits”) offerings, including a variety of breads and spreads from around the world; traditional one-pot dishes; and a selection of sides and desserts. As the brain behind the Scandinavian Aquavit eatery and Riingo’s bespoke Japanese menu, Samuelsson is something a young legend in Manhattan’s shopping mall of high dining. The mood at Merkato is a direct reflection of his intrinsic sense of daring and cool. A night out at this Meat Packing district hot spot is liable to leave you feeling consummately gratified.