Harlem's Celebrity Chef Marcus Samuelsson Joins Apollo Theater Board

By Jeff Mays on December 8, 2010 6:04pm 

By Jeff Mays

DNAInfo Reporter/Producer

HARLEM — The neighborhood's most celebrated chef, Marcus Samuelsson, will join actress Leslie Uggams and singer-songwriter Kenneth "Babyface" Edmondsin on the new board of the Apollo Theater.

Samuelsson is one of seven new members that will increase the size of the Apollo Board of Directors, the governing body of the nonprofit foundation that operates the Apollo Theater, from 20 to 27.

"This is a pivotal moment in the Apollo’s history, and I know that their knowledge and insight will be invaluable in guiding the Theater to realize our full potential as a nonprofit cultural institution," said Richard Parsons, Chairman of the Board, said in a statement.

Uggams, a veteran Broadway actress, is well known for her role in the groundbreaking television mini-series "Roots." As a child, she opened at the Apollo for Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.

Samuelsson is the former winner of Bravo's Top Chef Master's. He gained acclaim as the executive chef at Aquavit  and has authored a couple of cookbooks. His Lenox Avenue restaurant, Red Rooster Harlem, is expected to open this month.

Edmonds is a 10-time Grammy award winner with 11 solo albums who has sold more than 500 million units. A well-known song-writer and producer, Edmonds is scheduled to get his own star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame in August.

The Apollo is celebrating its 75th anniversary season and will be the subject of an exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York starting in February. legendary soul singer Gladys Knight recently rode the organization's first float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

"As a nonprofit organization, we depend on the vision and expertise of our board leadership to help guide us to fulfill our mission, and all of them bring a set of experiences and connections that complement those of the rest of our board," said Jonelle Procope, President and CEO of the Apollo Theater.