Good Eats, Good Cause

They may have been rivals on Top Chef Masters, but Las Vegas’ Rick Moonen and New York chef Marcus Samuelsson are teaming up to fight hunger at a cooking demonstration and five-course meal benefiting Three Square Food Bank on June 23 at RM Seafood.

Marcus Samuelsson

“The competition is behind us now,” says Samuelsson, the just-crowned Top Chef Master chef. Moonen finished half a point shy of Samuelsson, tied for second place with Canadian chef Susur Lee.

The $125-per-person event starts at 5 p.m. with Samuelsson leading a culinary demonstration featuring the green curry prawns he prepared for President Obama at his first state dinner in November. After that, he and Moonen will take turns preparing courses for the sit-down portion of the dinner.

Samuelsson says the salt-cured duck and foie gras flan that he prepared on the June 9 episode of Top Chef Masters will likely be on the menu.

“I think it’s important … to give people a taste of the food that they saw on the show,” Samuelsson says. “I wanted to do dishes that were great dishes, but also dishes that people read about or saw on TV.”

The Ethiopian-born, Swedish-raised Samuelsson created the dish to show judges on Top Chef Masters the flavors, textures and styles that inspired him to become a chef. He also prepared smoked char in a sweet horseradish and shellfish broth on the final episode of the show, and will likely include it on his portion of the June 23 menu.

In 2003, the James Beard Foundation named Samuelsson, 39, New York’s best chef. At the time, he was chef and co-owner of Aquavit restaurant, but today he is focused on opening an eatery in Harlem called Red Rooster.

Vegas Seven asked Samuelsson if there was a relation between the soon-to-open restaurant and the Las Vegas swingers club of the same name, but he insists there is none.

“Are you kidding me?” he says, laughing about the coincidence. “That’s hilarious.” To reserve a spot at the Top Chef Masters’ table on June 23, call 632-9300 or e-mail

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