Susanna Foo is a native of Inner Mongolia who spent her formative years in Northern China’s Shanxi Province. Her father had been a general in the army of Chiang Kai-Shek, fighting against Mao Tse-Tung’s Red Army FromRussia. It was from her father that Susanna got her love of fine food. Her father had gone to an exclusive boarding school in the 1920’s, and he frequently regaled Susanna with tales of exquisite imperial-style cuisine such as local duck and lamb dishes.
Susanna’s mother was an excellent chef who bought and cooked only the freshest traditional produce and meat dishes. With the defeat of Chiang, Susanna’s family fled to Taiwan, where she spent her teenage years. She emigrated to the United States in 1967, and she earned a library science Master of Arts degree at the University of Pittsburgh. She moved to Philadelphia in 1979 where she put on a chef hat to work at her Chinese-born husband’s family’s restaurant. Shortly thereafter she opened a second family-owned restaurant in Philadelphia called Hu-Nan.
Susanna had learned the Hunan cooking style from her mother-in-law; and she learned the Northern Chinese pasta style from her cousin. While working at Hu-Nan she met Jacob Rosenthal, the founder of Culinary Institute of America, who taught her French style cooking. Rosenthal became her mentor and Susanna began studying at the Culinary Institute. Susanna and her husband launched their own restaurant in Philadelphia in 1987 – Susanna Foo Chinese Cuisine – which featured a fusion of Chinese cooking with French. Susanna’s trademark is using only the freshest ingredients from all over the globe. Recently, she opened another restaurant, the Suilan, at the Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. Susanna has written two cookbooks, Susanna Foo Chinese Cuisine: Fabulous Flavors and Innovative Recipes of North America’s Finest Chinese Cook published in 1995; and Susanna Foo Fresh Inspiration: New Approaches to Chinese Cuisine published in 2005. Among her numerous awards are the 1989 Best New Chef award from Food and Wine; the 1996 James Beard Award for the Best International Cookbook; and the 1997 James Beard Award for the Best Mid Atlantic Chef.
Anthony Bourdain is the executive chef of Les Halles Brasserie in New York City; he is something of an oddball. He is offensive, crass, and prefers wearing a black apron rather than a white, starched jacket and traditional chef hat.
However, he is a great cook and writer, and has a passion for food of all types. His adventurous and infectious spirit have garnered him millions of fans among gourmets world-wide. Anthony Bourdain has probably turned many more people on to great food than any other fancy-hatted, five-star chef in the world. Born in New York City in 1956, Anthony went to Vassar College for two years before dropping out to attend the Culinary Institute of America. After graduating from the Institute he went to work as chef at New York’s Supper Club, Sullivan’s, and One Fifth Avenue; before he settled down as chef de cuisine at Les Halles, where he remains to the present. Anthony has written a number of books which include three crime thrillers as well as a biography of Typhoid Mary. In 1999 The New Yorker magazine published his expose of New York City restaurants entitled “Don’t Eat Before Reading This.” He expanded this article into an autobiographical bestseller published in 2000 entitled Kitchen Confidential. The success of this book led to an offer from Food Network to star in his own TV series A Cook’s Tour. Anthony travels around the world in his search for the perfect dinner. Some of his more interesting experiences include dining with Russian gangsters in customized uniforms; eating the still beating heart of a snake; and visiting the French fishing village where he first ate raw oysters in his boyhood. Anthony is still executive chef at Les Halles, which now is a chain of five restaurants. His Travel Channel television series Anthony Bourdain – No Reservations premiered in 2005.