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My Conversation with Chef Susan Spicer

This article’s feature chef, Susan Spicer, is no stranger to my home city of San Antonio, Texas. Susan used to visit San Antonio at least once a year for almost 15 years to share her gifts with our community at the seasonal Christmas sensation “Nutcracker Sweets,” which was founded by yours truly, and brought chefs to San Antonio from across the country to benefit a local charity.

I’ve known Susan since about 1992. While I was attending the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, after hounding her, she finally hired me as chef-intern at her restaurant, Bayona, in New Orleans. I was the first CIA student she ever hired and probably the last! We’ve gone from a teacher-student relationship to that of friends. Chef Spicer wrote the forword to my cookbook, My Family • My Friends • My Food. I not only consider her a mentor, but am honored to call her a friend.

While Susan Spicer is one of the top female chefs in the country, she is far from being a diva, quite far! She is one of the most real, down-to-earth, talented people that I know. I consider her one of our country’s living treasures.

Here are my Q&A’s with Chef Spicer:
cMF: How many restaurants/businesses do you own and what are their names and locations?
CS: Three. Bayona 430 Rue Dauphine, New Orleans, LA 70112, Wild Four Breads 1501 Simon Bolivar Ave., New Orleans, LA 70113, and Mondo 900 Harrison Ave, New Orleans, LA 70124.

cMF: What is your typical day like?
CS: Up at 6:30-7a.m.
I feed the animals—three cats, one dog, five chickens
I make salad for my husband’s lunch.
I bring the kids to school.
If time permits, I go for a run.
I go to Mondo to work lunch.
I call Bayona.
I work dinner at Bayona.

cMF: What organizations are you involved with?
CS: GRN, SOS, Chef”s Collaborative

cMF: Favorite thing to eat?
CS: Ice cream, ripe avocado, french fries, bacon, and boiled crawfish

cMF: Favorite thing to cook at home?
CS: Breakfast on Sunday or taco night for the kids

cMF: If I opened your refrigerator what would I always find?
CS: Milk, cheese, grapes, lots of condiments

cMF: Most memorable life experience?
CS: Living for two months with my husband, two kids, and two cats with my husband’s brother and family after Katrina.

The next time you find yourself in the Crescent City make sure you arrive with reservations at one or all of her restaurants and tell them chef Michael and Decisive Latino magazine sent you!