UNICEF Ambassador Marcus Samuelsson Wins Season Two of Bravo's Top Chef Masters

Jun 10, 2010, 12:00 ET from U.S. Fund for UNICEF

Prize money to support clean water programs worldwide through the UNICEF Tap Project

NEW YORK, June 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Fund for UNICEF is delighted with last night's announcement naming Marcus Samuelsson the winner of the second season of Bravo's Top Chef Masters.  In addition to being a master chef, Samuelsson is also a committed UNICEF Ambassador and was competing this season for the UNICEF Tap Project, a clean water campaign run by the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.  

Top Chef Masters airs on the cable network, BRAVO, and last night's finale pitted Samuelsson in a three-way culinary face-off with chefs Rick Moonen and Susur Lee for the title of "Top Chef Master."  A cash prize of $100,000 and an additional $15,000 won by Samuelsson throughout the course of the show will also be awarded to his charity, UNICEF, where Samuelsson serves as a goodwill ambassador.  

"I feel so happy that I had the opportunity to meet and cook with these extraordinary chefs that are now my friends," said Marcus Samuelsson, who has been a UNICEF Ambassador for the past 10 years.  "I learned so much during this process – it was an incredible journey and I am grateful for this experience.  It is an honor to present this $115,000 check to help the UNICEF Tap Project with the mission to provide clean water to children all over the globe."

Now in its fourth year, the UNICEF Tap Project is a grassroots initiative from the U.S. Fund for UNICEF that invites individuals to donate $1 or more for tap water at participating restaurants or online at tapproject.org to provide clean water to children around the world.  

Samuelsson has been involved with the UNICEF Tap Project since its inception in 2007.  He has served as a UNICEF Tap Project Chef spokesperson and has consistently registered his restaurants for involvement in the campaign, which launches annually during World Water Week (March 21-27).  

"The U.S. Fund family extends heartfelt congratulations to Marcus on this superb accomplishment, which truly distinguishes him as a master chef," said Caryl Stern, president and CEO, U.S. Fund for UNICEF.  "We are also honored that Marcus has continued to serve the children of the world as a UNICEF Ambassador with a passion for addressing clean water issues through his involvement with the UNICEF Tap Project.  Lack of access to clean drinking water continues to be a leading killer of children under the age of five worldwide.  The funds received from Marcus' win will help our efforts as we continue in our mission to reduce the number of preventable deaths from 24,000 daily to zero."

To date, the UNICEF Tap Project has raised over $2 million in the U.S. to help provide clean water to millions of children around the world.  Funds from this year's campaign will primarily support Haiti, Central African Republic, Guatemala, Togo and Vietnam.    

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. Working in over 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health care, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency relief, and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States.

UNICEF is at the forefront of efforts to reduce child mortality worldwide.  There has been substantial progress—the annual number of under-five deaths dropped from 13 million in 1990 to 8.8 million in 2008.  But still, 24,000 children die each day from preventable causes. Our mission is to do whatever it takes to make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.