Friendly welcome: Kyle Burgess, left, and Emi Fround, right, pose to have their photo taken with Chef Marcus Samuelsson at his restaurant at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess on Sunday. *Photo supplied
Friendly welcome: Kyle Burgess, left, and Emi Fround, right, pose to have their photo taken with Chef Marcus Samuelsson at his restaurant at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess on Sunday. *Photo supplied
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Dinner guests on Sunday at Samuelsson at HP pop-up restaurant were pleasantly surprised when the famed celebrity chef made an appearance.

Marcus Samuelsson was inundated with requests by diners to have a photo taken with them, which he graciously obliged to everyone who asked.

Nils Noren, vice president of restaurant operations at the Marcus Samuelsson Group, told the Bermuda Sun that since the restaurant opened on June 3 at the Fairmont Hamilton Princess, “things are going pretty well. We have been pretty much full since we opened, which is a good thing”.

Mr Noren said it was planned that Chef Samuelsson would be at the restaurant on Sunday, but it was kept low-key.

“My team knew about it and the people at the Fairmont, but we wanted to keep it under the radar.”

He said the reaction in the restaurant was “pretty good. Almost every single table managed to get a picture with Marcus. They were definitely surprised to see him”. 

Emi Froud was one of those who were lucky enough to be at the restaurant on Sunday. 

She told the Bermuda Sun: “It was really cool to meet him in person and be able to try his food while he was there. I was shocked that he was there because we had no idea that he was coming down.”

It was a bit of a whirlwind visit for one of world’s most-renown chefs — flying in Sunday afternoon and back out on Monday.

Mr Noren said Chef Samuelsson was impressed at the transformation of the room the restaurant is hosted.

Also, the young Bermudian cooks “were impressive to see in action. They’ve been amazing to see”.

Mr Noren said it was also the first-time the young Bermudians had the opportunity to meet Chef Samuelsson. They had been given a copy of his cookbook, with many of them bringing it so he could sign it for them.

Chef Noren said the energy was already high this week for the staff with the restaurant opening, but having Chef Samuelsson there took it to another level. 

“They have been upping their game (since the restaurant opened), but this provided extra excitement.”

Chef Noren said the restaurant has increased bookings at the Hamilton Princess as three overseas women decided to venture to Bermuda to try Samuelsson at HP.

“They really got a kick out of seeing Marcus there as well.”

Chef Noren said the early favourites among diners re the Fish Chowder Croquettes and the Jerk Pork Belly, with almost every table ordering at least one of the two. 

Mr Noren said: “Those are the big sellers.” He added he was not sure how the Fish Chowder Croquettes were going to be received as “when you take something that’s real traditional and turn it into something else, but it’s been embraced by the locals”.

Chef Noren said reservations are solid for the rest of this week, but there is some room for walk-ups as bookings are not taken for all the outside tables, so if the weather is good, Samuelsson at HP can usually accommodate a few extra diners on the patio.