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One-on-One With Chef Suzanne Barr

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The world is Suzanne Barr’s oyster.
From her native Toronto, she grew to become a fierce traveller and found herself working in amazing kitchens all around the world. After Hawaii, France, England, Spain, and the USA, Suzanne dropped her suitcases back in Canada. She also brought a strong experience for plant-based cooking, and an interest in the relationship between food and health, both mental and physical.

Her dream? To see a real staff diversity in all the kitchens of the world. And she is working hard at it! She created the Saturday Dinette program in order to empower women and provide aspiring female cooks a kick-start to enter the foodservice industry. Always with a project on the back burner, she comes with the next big thing year after year! So keep your eye on her, you won’t be disappointed.

Get to know her better through this fast and fun interview:

DO YOU HAVE A LUCKY CHARM IN THE KITCHEN?

No lucky charm but music is a requirement.

WHAT’S THE LAST THING YOU BURNED?

Pancakes for my son Myles… he was very, very sad.

YOUR FAVOURITE SPICE?

Curry powder (Jamaican turmeric heavy).
I crave curry at least once a week.

WHAT MAKES YOU “KITCHEN ANGRY”?

Ha ha, that’s a good one… I don’t get “kitchen angry”.
Nope, wait… Yeah, I remembered now: servers missing firing orders or forgetting them all together.

LATEST FLAVOUR COMBINATION YOU DISCOVERED?

Mustard on my protein high heat roast or bake… I live for it! 

WHAT’S YOUR MOST EXTRAVAGANT PURCHASE?

Lunch for one at Guy Savoy in Paris.

FAVOURITE SONG IN THE KITCHEN?

That’s a hard one because it depends on the weather outside and my mood inside…
Anything by Outkast, Arcade Fire or Beenie Man (90’s reggae gold).

WHAT’S YOUR COMFORT FOOD?

Mac and cheese, curry chicken, stew peas and rice.

WHAT’S YOUR MOST ESSENTIAL TOOL?

Tongs.

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ANYTHING IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Better salaries, insurance for all hospitality employees, rating system for shitty restaurants to not work for so, it’s not a waste of anyone’s time!

FAVOURITE SMELL IN THE KITCHEN?

BBQ anything.

WHAT’S YOUR BAD HABIT?

Eating things when they’re clearly too damn hot and burning the roof of my mouth! 

WHAT DO YOU ADMIRE IN OTHER CHEFS?

The desire to do this work and the creations that come out of innovation from our past, present and future.

WHAT OR WHO IS YOUR GREATEST INSPIRATION?

Shirley Chisholm, Eunice Barr, Georgia Gilmore, Edna Lewis, Aunt Jemina, Angela Davis and Bell Hooks.

THE DISH YOU ARE THE PROUDEST OF?

Ackee terrine + tomato consomme + fried festival (Rite of Passage menu).

WHAT’S YOUR END OF THE WORLD MENU?

Stew peas and rice, ackee sailfish, oxtail lasagna, buckwheat pancakes with warm maple syrup (lots of salted butter), butter croissant (but from Paris), cafe Cubano.

YOUR FAVOURITE ADVICE OR QUOTE?

“Take it one day at a time” and “everything happens for a reason”.
There are more but that’s a start.

 

Want more?

Have a seat at Suzanne’s table May 27 and 28 for the 1st Greasy Spoon Dinner in Toronto
in support of Sistering and A Better Life Foundation.
For more information, click here.

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