Marcus Samuelsson partners with Cox Farms, shares grilling tips

Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson recently partnered with Cox Farms, an initiative of Cox Enterprises.

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson recently partnered with Cox Farms, an initiative of Cox Enterprises.

Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson recently partnered with a new initiative to promote fresh and sustainable produce.

Samuelsson, who, in addition to owning renowned restaurants across the globe including Atlanta eatery Marcus Bar & Grille, has also won numerous TV competitions including “Top Chef Masters” and “Chopped All-Stars.”

Now, he’s working with Cox Farms, one of the largest greenhouse growers in North America focused on sustainable food and agriculture. An initiative of Cox Enterprises (the parent company of The Atlanta-Journal Constitution), Cox Farms works with North American greenhouse growers, including Mucci Farms and Bright Farms, to provide families access to locally grown fruits and vegetables while using less water and less land on a per yield basis, and no pesticides.

“I love food and cooking, and we’re all on a journey to find better food,” Samuelsson told the AJC of the partnership. “How do we get all of America access to great food? We have to evolve and anytime you can cook something that’s better for the environment, is locally grown and tastes fantastic, I’m always excited about that.”

Part of Samuelsson’s role in the partnership is to share recipes and tips for using the produce grown by Cox Farms.

“Summertime is always the time when you pull out the grill, and I want people to think about what they can do with great vegetables,” he said. Of late, he’s been enjoying grilled strawberries in strawberry cobbler and grilled bell peppers in a smoky, charred sauce.

For those who want to incorporate more vegetables and fruit into their lives but don’t know where to start, Samuelsson recommends slicing hunks of vegetables like eggplant and sweet potatoes, brushing them with olive oil and a ginger-soy glaze before grilling.

“That way, it’s going caramelize and eat like an animal protein, like a fish or a meat,” he said. “The juiciness is going to come out. You start in the center where it’s hotter and move it out to the sides. If you do it right, you’ll have a wonderful meal.”

He also said the kind of high-quality, chemical-free produce that comes from Cox Farms is essential to cooking meals that will both satisfy and nourish.

While first-time grillers might be intimidated, Samuelsson said practice is key.

“Get that heat up early, and then it’s about finding a spot where you can control the wind. You want the grill to be hot in the center, not as hot on the sides, so you can create a stovetop where you have different temperatures. That double cooking of charred and smoked creates the best flavor.”

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