These are the best days for Marcus Samuelsson and his wife, Maya Haile. The celebrity couple welcomed their son, Zion Mandela, four months ago and have been on cloud nine ever since.

“Everyone in Harlem was engaged in some way because they’ve seen us through the pregnancy,” the chef tells PEOPLE exclusively. Marcus and Maya made their expectancy a community event by being open to comments and suggestions from customers at their two restaurants in the neighborhood.


“It’s a community where we’re on top of each other, but that’s great because it takes a village, right,” he asked. Although a newborn comes with its fair share of challenges, Marcus wouldn’t exchange the experience for anything in the world.

“Having a baby is such a blessing because your life is so enriched,” the chef tells PEOPLE. “My greatest wish for our son Zion is for him to, first of all, of course [be] healthy,” he continues. “[I also want him] to be able to explore and really evolve into a curious individual that is fully living and wants to dive into many fields and just be excited about today — but also tomorrow.”

Marcus Samuelsson is the proud owner of ten restaurants nationwide. The Ethiopian-born chef released his Red Rooster Cookbook on October 18, 2016, that combines excellent recipes with the spirit of ambition that is Harlem for a smash hit editorial.

Zion Mandela was born on July 19, 2016.




Sarie is a writer and editor for BCK's Los Angeles division. She also shares stories on Medium that are meant to encourage thought and discussion. You can catch her outside enjoying nature and classical literature. Pop culture is pretty fun, too!

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