Following graduation, Samuelsson apprenticed first in Switzerland and later in Austria. Later, Aquavit owner Håkan Swahn selected the young Swedish chef for an eight-month apprenticeship at his restaurant. This was a great honor for Samuelsson, considering the restaurant’s international reputation. Following his stint at Aquavit, Samuelsson returned to Europe to take a position at the world-renowned and three-star Michelin restaurant, Georges Blanc in Lyon, France. In 1994, Håkan Swahn asked Samuelsson to return to Aquavit to work under the restaurant’s new executive chef. He worked diligently and in May of 1995, he was formally appointed Executive Chef of Aquavit.
I greatly admire anyone who has passion for something they love but I admire them even more when they get out of their comfort zone and try new things. It's the only way you grow and without growth, how else could we have a successful Ethiopian born Swedish raised chef who lives in Harlem and simultaneously runs a Scandinavian and an African restaurant! I think that's the finest example of "only in New York" stories I have ever heard! Hope it inspires you to get out of your comfort zone today too!