Meet Suzanne Barr, the chef who created a thoughtful (and beautiful) spread for our Women & Weed event. Her philosophy when it comes to food is very VdP – it’s all about health, happiness and balance. Though her beloved boite Saturday Dinette closed last summer, Suzanne has kept busy with a residency at Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel, and prepping for the opening of her new venture, Kid Chocolate. Summer can’t come soon enough!
How and why did you get into the food industry?
I started in the food industry because I wanted to understand how to heal people through healthy eating, making balanced life choices, and taking a 360-approach to a work/life balance.
What's been the biggest challenge in developing your reputation as a chef?
One of the greatest challenges I would say is making people believe that I, a black female chef, was the chef and owner of Saturday Dinette. My husband Johnnie and I opened SD, and more often than most people would thank him and congratulate him on the menu and the restaurant. It was definitely a conversation I found myself in, explaining the dynamic of our little restaurant and my role there. In addition to this challenge, our little family juggled a lot with having a little young son born in the restaurant and trying to balance my time with him and the needs at the restaurant.
What's been the most fulfilling moment in your career to date?
That would be the opportunity to be the first Chef-in-Residence at the Gladstone Hotel the summer of 2017.
Describe your approach to food. What drives you to create?
My approach to food is quite simple: Make honest, good food everyday and your passion, talent, and love for food will influence those that have had an opportunity to experience it.
Why were you excited to be part of the Women & Weed event?
I was most excited to have been a part of the Women & Weed event because of the evolution of my passion to heal through food, which has lead me to explore the possibility of launching a brand and product within a new and very exciting industry. This industry, as a women of colour, will hopefully allow a platform for the next stage of my career.
What are you most looking forward to in 2018?
2018 will be a year I complete my Saturday Dinette picture book and the completion of Rite of Passage… a love letter to my mother! It’s a year I’m about to kick some doors in!
Interview by Odessa Paloma Parker
Photos by Kayla Rocca