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Chef Marcus Samuelsson Introduces Son Zion Mandela: He Is ‘Such a Blessing’

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There was no shortage of help when Marcus Samuelsson and his wife, model Maya Haile, welcomed their nearly 4-month-old son, Zion Mandela, on July 19.

“Everyone in Harlem was engaged in some way because they’ve seen us through the pregnancy,” says the chef, who lives in the neighborhood and runs two of his 10 restaurants (Red Rooster Harlem and Streetbird Rotisserie) there.

“It’s a community where we’re on top of each other, but that’s great because it takes a village, right?”

Though sleep is sparse, the couple is adjusting nicely to life with a newborn. “Living together without a baby, of course you have much more freedom, but having a baby is such a blessing because your life is so enriched,” the author of the new Red Rooster Cookbook tells PEOPLE. “You see the day and future in a completely different way.”

Victoria Will
Victoria Will

Diaper duty on the other hand, is a work in progress. “I do it, I’m just not great at it. I’m too slow,” says Samuelsson, 46, who also has an adult daughter, Zoe. “There’s just so much going on at the same time.”

And accidents are a common occurrence. “We get showered,” he laughs.

If there’s one thing the couple is sure of, it’s that they want to raise their son to have an inquisitive mind.

“My greatest wish for our son Zion is for him to first of all, of course [be] healthy,” says the restaurateur, “but also 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.”

For more on Samuelsson and his family, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.