Harvest Home's annual Savor the Season Uptown returns on Sept. 26, and while the Harlem chef Marcus Samuelsson won't be there (presumable filming episodes of The Taste), the Marcus Samuelsson Group is still pulling out all the stops.
The event moves to a larger venue at the Museum of the City of New York, with food from Red Rooster, Corner Social, Levain Bakery, and more; Nils Noren will be repping the Samuelsson Group.
"If you look at Harlem there are still things that need to happen; there needs to be better food that is more easily accessible," Noren told us over the phone. "There are tons of organizations in Harlem that do a great job." Harvest Home, for one, provides the neighborhoods with local, farm-fresh produce in its farmers' market. Fortune FRESH, in the meantime, makes a point to train formerly incarcerated youth to run an organic farm stand.
"I’ve been here since we’ve opened [Red Rooster], and I’ve seen a huge change," Noren said. "Harlem has been Harlem in a great way and but there are a lot more entrepreneurs opening, cafés, vintage clothing shops, and obviously restaurants, which is great." And although some naysayers may point to gentrification as a potential killer of old Harlem, Noren notes that focusing on accessible, economically friendly healthy food for locals is hardly an evil cause. "Of course people are worried about gentrification but I think it’s an evolution that is good because it gives a lot of opportunities to open up businesses, and it’s also creating jobs," Noren said. "A lot of our staff at Red Rooster are from Harlem, which adds to the restaurant experience... the staff is able to talk about what’s happening not only at our restaurant but also in Harlem in general."
To bring awareness to the neighborhood and Harvest Home's causes, Noren and Samuelsson have curated a menu for Savor the Season Uptown, with tickets going for $125 each (VIP goes for $250 a plate). Proceeds benefit Harvest Home.