by SriVani Ganti – Boston University
When I called her for our interview, I was definitely nervous. This was my first interview with someone outside of the family. She is a celebrity chef! What would she be like? Would she think she’s too cool to talk a girl with a blog that is centered on her need to eat and survive? As soon as we said hello, I breathed a sigh of relief. If it’s at all possible, I could hear her smiling through the phone. Even though we are separated by hundreds of miles, Chef Suzy oozed a level of warmth and vivaciousness that made me feel immediately comfortable. I knew that this interview would be easy, because nothing is easier than just sitting down and chatting with a girlfriend on the phone.
Chef Suzy Singh was raised in the suburbs of Chicago and attended University of Illinois majoring in Bioengineering. After working hard in the world of Neural Engineering, Suzy decided to make the change and switch gears entirely. She left her stable job and went back to school, Le Cordon Bleu to be precise. Before she could even graduate, she managed to charm the producers of MasterChef (where the filmed the show) and earned a spot on season 2. With her tenacity, infectious smile and serious culinary skills, Chef Suzy went far in the competition impressing the judges. Now she is taking the Chicago food scene by storm with her samosa-centric food truck, the first South Asian food truck in Chicago. Check out my interview below to get to know Chef Suzy better!
BG: The culinary world is a tough world that is only now becoming more diverse. How does it feel to be a female South Asian chef in a previously male dominated industry?
CS: Well I have a background in engineering, which is also a male dominated industry. I found that I couldn’t fold into the pressures of the engineering world of culinary world. I had to stay true to myself in order to excel and come as far as I have. Also, we female chefs stick together and develop a sisterhood amongst ourselves.
CS: I think if you are going to make a change, then you need to have a purpose. When you plan on doing something big, make sure you have researched it and it’s for you. Also remember you will have to sacrifice for your dream. When I decided to join Le Cordon Bleu, I had a mortgage to thing about and no one but myself to pay it. I did everything I could to make it happen.
BG: After visiting your website, you seem to have quite a few projects in the pipeline, can you tell me about some of them?
CS: I do have a lot going on! Currently I am Creative Chef for Ashayna banquets. What I do is develop menus and recipes for them. I love combing Indian and American flavors to create a new type of cuisine. I also love using Indian beers. I am also the National Spokeswoman for Le Cordon Bleu. And of course, I have my food truck Suzy’s Samosas that can be found throughout Chicago, just go to my website and see where we will be each day!
BG: With your booming food truck, what made you pick samosas as your product?
CS: I found myself inspired by Indian street food. I have always loved samosas and I wanted to introduce Chicago to a new way of having the samosa. My favorite is my butter chicken samosa, I just love butter chicken, I could eat it all the time. I offer the traditional samosa, BBQ beef, nutella and create your own!
BG: Who is your celebrity chef crush?
CS: My celebrity chef crush would have to be Graham Elliot. He is incredibly talented and working with him on MasterChef was a dream and an incredible learning experience.
BG: What is your favorite dish that your grandmother or mother makes that you will never get sick of, ever?
CS: Actually it’s not from my grandmother or mom, but it’s from my dad. He’s an amazing cooking and I love his chana puri. I could eat it all the time.
BG: What’s your favorite cuisine outside of Indian food?
CS: My time at Le Cordon Bleu definitely gave me an appreciation for French food, but I love Thai food. It’s so comforting and delicious, you just can’t go wrong!
BG: What advice do you have for individuals who are becoming acquainted with the cooking world?
CS: My suggestion is taking the MasterChef class with Le Cordon Bleu. This class is a great way of getting acquainted with the culinary world while picking up some valuable skills.
Update: Since BG spoke with Chef Suzy she has made some big changes to her line of samosas. Chef Suzy is now working with a national grocery store chain to bring her samosas around the country! With such a big change, Chef Suzy will now be closing down her food truck to take on this new endeavor in her culinary career! Keep an eye on her website http://www.suzysingh.com/ and her facebook to see when the truck will be roaming the streets of Chicago for the last time, and when you will be able to find her samosas in a store near you!