Chef Hans Susser is a food industry veteran, a recipient of the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences’ 100 Best Chefs World Wide Award (5 Star Diamond Award) with 45 years of professional experience creating wonderful dishes and instructing others on how to do the same. He also publishes a blog called ChefsOpinion that has quickly become a favorite daily read of mine. Like Chef Susser’s cooking, the opinions he shares on all aspects of cooking from recipe development to everything that’s right and wrong with today’s food industry’s forgo all pretentiousness, instead allowing his unvarnished notions (and his ingredients) to shine in a way that commands respect. Flavorful World is delighted to have had a few moments of his time recently to discuss a variety of topics including the decline of culinary culture, vegetables as dessert ingredients, and his chief pet peeve as a chef.
Flavorful World: In light of the recent backlash against websites like Yelp, what is your response to those who lament that self-proclaimed “foodies” are ruining culinary culture?
Hans Susser: If anybody ruins our culinary culture, it is done by the chefs who create a secondary, sub-par culinary culture, full of unprofessional nonsense which is so willingly picked up by some self proclaimed, culinary uneducated and ignorant “Foodies.”
FW: Tell us about your favorite recipe that can be made using four or fewer ingredients.
HS: A great omelette.
FW: A recent article in NPR’s The Salt reported on how more chefs are utilizing vegetables in the desserts they create. What vegetable do you think best lends itself to utilization in a variety of sweet recipes and why?
HS: Azuki beans. They are naturally sweet and can be made into soups, ice cream, sweet stuffing, fried, steamed, simmered, etc.
FW: Jean-Anthelme Brillat Savarin is credited with the quote “A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine.” Replace the word “wine” with a food or drink that changes the quote to reflect your personal philosophy, and tell us why you chose that food or drink.
HS: Lightly sweetened Iced Tea. It is refreshing, cleanses the palette and can be consumed in any situation, any time of day.
FW: Where were you the last time you found inspiration for creating a new recipe? What did you create?
HS: I am not sure we can still create a “new” recipe. I think a variation of any food item has been concocted by someone, somewhere, before. However, I have been inspired to create variations of many dishes (recipes), depending on such circumstances as availability, affordability and momentary cravings amongst other things.
FW: What is the most gratifying piece of visitor feedback your site has received, and why?
HS: That my style and especially my approach to food and cooking inspires others to recreate and advance my recipes / suggestions / style.
FW: What is your chief culinary pet peeve?
HS: Dishes which exist solely for the reason of pretentious presentation, with total disregard of taste and texture.
FW: Excluding the name of any of your pre-existing blogs, websites, or print/online personas, tell us what name you would give to your memoir about your culinary exploits.
HS: “Chef Hans Susser: Trying to help keep culinary tradition and values alive amidst a sea of shortcut tricksters.”
FW: When you aren’t cooking and/or eating delicious foods, how do you most enjoy spending your time?
HS: Reading, painting, widening my culinary horizon.
*Note to Readers: ChefsOpinion.org is where you’ll find Chef Susser’s latest musings, recipes, and great photos of his culinary creations. For a source of never-ending entertainment, inspiration, and meditation on all things related to cooking and eating, it’s a site you’ll want to visit, and often.