My mother and my grandmother are pioneers of Mexican cuisine in this country, so I grew up in the kitchen. My mom, Zarela Martinez, was by far my biggest influence and inspiration - and toughest critic.
Latin food suffers like Chinese. You can do marginal Chinese and be successful. You can do crappy Mexican and be packed.
Marcus Samuelsson is a chef who inspires me everyday. He has such a deep understanding of flavors and techniques. His food is representative of the diverse world that we live in. What he has done in Harlem with Red Rooster is very special. Marcus is not just a chef, he's a food activist.