May 19—Restaurant Associates has partnered with celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson to introduce a new culinary concept called Global Street Foods by Marcus Samuelsson, exclusively for RA’s corporate cafés and cultural dining outlets.
Samuelsson will create menus that feature authentic street foods from 12 different cultures. Dick Cattani, CEO of the Premier Catering Division (RA, Flik International and Wolfgang Puck Catering) for Compass Group, said the partnership started with Samuelsson’s partner, Derek Fleming, contacting him regarding joining forces.
“During this past year we’ve seen an explosion of pop-up restaurants and food trucks becoming the rage in all urban markets and customers clamoring for more comfort foods,” Cattani said. “I thought with the breadth and depth of Marcus’ travels and experience in this area, Global Street Foods by Marcus Samuelsson would fill the void we were looking for.”
Cattani said the concept will be set up as a Global Street Foods Station where each week one country or region will be featured. The station will offer a complete meal with beverage and dessert that fits the country.
“What we hope happens is that on one day the guest will select a complete meal and on another day maybe just one item, say a skewer or something to go with their salad bar selection so we have elasticity with the menu,” Cattani said. “Initially, we have 12 countries so the menu will change every week for 12 weeks. For mid-sized accounts the station may be offered one day a week. Smaller accounts may offer the menu at the Chef’s Table. Within six to eight months all RA accounts will be offering Global Street Foods. Flik will follow then the rest of the Compass world.”
The menu will include items such as squid grilled on a stick from Thailand; fresh grilled bánh mì with shredded pork, cucumber and mango from Vietnam; and spicy pani puri from India.
“I'm honestly excited about all of the dishes we're creating for the Street Food menu, especially our African-inspired ones,” says Samuelsson. “I've know Restaurant Associates through my work in the culinary industry for years, I've always admired and respected the organization, so I was excited when the opportunity to partner together on Street Foods came about. I was inspired by my travels —some of my best memories are of eating street food in different cities. [With a program like this] you have to really know your product and have it be a personal experience for it to work. In a scenario like this, it's important to be able to relay your ideas in a clear manner for the operator to be able to create the best possible menu.”
Cattani said corporate dining was a natural fit for the concept.
“Our Premier Catering Group has always been the industry leader with breakout ideas,” Cattani said. “Our audience is an incredibly discriminating group with a very sophisticated palate and are very aware of emerging trends. Marcus has been front and center as a food innovator so bringing him and his food directly to our customers is pretty cool.”
Left to righ in photo: Mike Smith, Marcus Samuelsson, Ed Brown, Marc Scheuer
Photo credit: Philip Greenberg