Suzanne Barr - Chef + Creator
Once a successful producer at MTV in New York City, Suzanne decided to drop it all and go for the dream. She went to culinary school, moved to a different country and opened up a hip little diner. Spoiler alert, it’s unbelievable and the food critics agree. With this much hustle, I had to know more about this incredible woman so I dropped by for some brunch and mimosas.
Edit: I did this story back in May 2017, when Saturday Dinette was still open. The restaurant closed due to issues with the landlord but Suzanne is now the Co-Executive Chef at the Gladstone Hotel, about to open up Kid'Chocolate Bar and is hard at work on a cookbook.
What did you do before becoming a chef? What made you switch?
I was a executive producer at MTV Networks in NYC. I officially hit a wall and needed a change as I had been working in Film/TV for over 10 years.
How did your culinary career start?
My culinary career began when I graduated from a small culinary school in NYC called Natural Gourmet Institute. Then I moved to Kauai, HI for my externship and never looked back.
What was your first job as a chef?
My first chef job was working as a private chef for a family in Bridgehampton, LI. I worked for the family as their chef for almost 4 years. They are still apart of my life.
What influences you? How do you come up with your menus?
Many things influence me, including: music, photography, conversations, memories, history or travels. I typically am inspired to create menus that are seasonally driven but mostly, connected to something I am watching, eating, talking about, and dreaming about.
Where can we find you right now in the city?
I am currently working at the Gladstone Hotel as Co-Executive Chef and I am also awaiting the next stage of development of a cookbook, “ A love letter to my mother”.
WHAT IS The Dinettes program?
The Dinettes program came to me as we were planning the opening of Saturday Dinette over 4 years ago. It is a work/life training program where we work with young women of colour to help them gain culinary skills and life experience in the hospitality industry. We are currently working to confirm a long-term agreement with The Gladstone Hotel as our permanent incubator home for the program. I am excited to announce this come 2018
"KEEP IN CONVERSATION WITH YOUR PARTNER, MAKE TIME FOR DATE NIGHT, GO HOME EARLY WHEN YOU CAN AND MAKE SURE TO ALWAYS ALLOW FOR FAMILY TIME. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE EVERY DAY."
Having a baby AND running a business is a thought that a lot of women struggle with. What would be your advice to women who are delaying motherhood because of the fear of losing out on opportunities/business?
My advice would be to do what feels right, special and magical. Make sure you are committed to the sacrifices that come with becoming a mother and a working mom. There will be moments of insecurity and doubt, but it will pass. The most important advice is to keep in conversation with your partner, make time for date night, go home early when you can and make sure to always allow for family time. Love, love, love every day - even in the moments of confusion.