Ina Garten And Marcus Samuelsson Have The Sweetest Friendship

"Be My Guest with Ina Garten" rolled out its second season with big names like Faith Hill, Nathan Lane, and Emily Blunt. However, it was the final guest — superstar Chef Marcus Samuelsson -– who so charmed Ina Garten that, at one point, she glanced straight into the camera to mouth, "I love him!" And who wouldn't? Samuelsson's star power is clear to all. He appears interested in the person and the topic at hand and is willing to try new things (he warmly declared the French 75 that Garten offered him as decisively better than a mimosa).

Garten started off their visit by complimenting Samuelsson's indisputable fortitude. He weathered the tragic loss of his mother to tuberculosis in Ethiopia as a toddler, and was then adopted into a loving family in Sweden. The story moves from harrowing to inspiring with one fell swoop of optimism and grit, characteristics familiar to anyone following Samuelsson's career. At 24, says CNBC, he was the youngest chef ever to score three stars from a New York Times review, and that was just the beginning.

But that's not the chatter he and Garten circled around for long during their visit. They had other important topics to cover. Namely, how Garten cares for her community by contributing to and participating in the local food co-op farm called Amber Waves Farm, which they visited together. Samuelsson loved it. That's not a surprise, knowing what Samuelsson did with his famous Red Rooster restaurant during the pandemic.

They share similar ideas about food and community

In the face of COVID-19 shutdowns, the Institute of Culinary Education reported how Marcus Samuelsson reframed his own world-renowned Red Rooster restaurant into a community food bank. Samuelsson built his Harlem restaurant by learning how to view food uniquely, as the community views it. He was apt to do for the community what it needed when the pandemic hit — including packaging thousands of meals for the food vulnerable and first responders who needed it most. Samuelsson said what he missed most during that time was essentially the hospitality. The joy of gathering and engaging is something Samuelsson and Garten share. Garten's mom had discouraged her from cooking, but Garten persevered because she loved entertaining. 

The two also share a voracious appetite for hard work. They have dozens of best-selling books between them (she's had one come out about every two years since 1999) and 12 restaurants around the world (all his, though her signature food store did earn her a street named in her honor). Additionally each star on television food shows, and, of course, they appeared together on a "Be My Guest" episode.

We loved seeing these two, with their love for food and shared goodwill toward community, easily and immediately become friends.