Success stories: 3 immigrant chefs who succeeded in the US

Immigrants are an example of resilience, motivation and ambition. Here are three immigrant chefs who have majorly contributed to the American cuisine and their success stories.

Numerous chefs and cooks from all over the world visit the United States each year to further their culinary education and find a new home. The food sector in the United States blends countless ethnicities, countries, and cultures, earning it the nickname "the melting pot of the globe." There is an endless amount of opportunity for culinary chefs and cooks in the United States.

The restaurant business serves as the springboard for living the American dream for so many immigrants. Some of these immigrant laborers eventually start their own restaurants, food trucks, and booths across the nation. Through talent and sheer willpower, they put in the hard work, move up the ladder, and succeed. But who are the most popular and successful immigrant chefs?

The Ethiopian Civil War and losing his mother disturbed Marcus Samuelsson's early existence. Samuelsson and his sister were adopted by a Swedish family after being transferred to Sweden as refugees. Samuelsson would later discover cooking from there and leave Sweden for Switzerland and Austria before sailing to America. He was the youngest chef to get three stars from the New York Times when he was only 24 years old and a head chef in New York City.

Since then, Samuelsson has created a food empire that includes soul food from all of his destinations along the route, including Harlem, Africa, and other regions. There are currently eleven of his eateries. He has written seven cookbooks that describe his experiences as an immigrant navigating American cuisine and culture. For any child refugee or immigrant yearning for a better future, his story—which he detailed in the James Beard Award–winning book Yes, Chef—is a ray of hope.

Before being transported to America by his parents in the early 1970s, Michael Mina was born in Cairo, Egypt. At age 15, he began working in kitchens and by the time he was 19 years old, he was spending the weekdays at the CIA and the weekends working in New York City kitchens. His unmatched motivation to become a chef is an inspiration to all of us.

Due to his perseverance, Mina has built a culinary empire that includes everything from food trucks to fine dining establishments, a dozen restaurants, and several Michelin stars. It is already a remarkable achievement how many people Mina employs at his restaurants, which are spread over the entire nation. However, Mina regularly maintains a top-notch, fluid game. 

Since 2003, Giada De Laurentiis has made Italian cuisine on The Food Network look appealing. She is also Italian and moved to Los Angeles in 1977 along with her mother and brothers. She "didn't speak a word of English" when she first arrived. As an immigrant child, De Laurentiis struggled in school and found comfort in the home kitchen.

De Laurentiis clearly played a role in popularizing a more authentic approach to Italian cuisine in America, though she did not bring Italian cuisine to American palates. Giada's eight Italian cookbooks, two of which are top-ranked best sellers on the New York Times list, and line of kid-friendly cookbooks demonstrate how successful she is in the world of culinary.

If you are a young cook who wants to learn about how a restaurant runs in the United States or you just want to create your own success story abroad, we recommend you our J-1 visa program. Check out our past blogs about getting a J-1 visa in 2022 or the cost of USA immigration in 2022. Besides, we can help you get a job or internship at the most famous restaurants and hotels in the US, so you might have the chance to work with one of the top successful immigrant chefs!


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