A leading woman in the culinary industry, Susan Spicer is a renaissance woman when it comes to cooking. Spicer began her career in 1970 under the guidance of Chef Daniel Bonnot at Louis XVI Restaurant, and later worked at the Hotel Sofitel in Paris with Chef Roland Durand. After spending four months in Paris, she moved back to New Orleans and opened her restaurant Savior Faire in the St. Charles Hotel. She expanded her business in 1986 when she debuted the Bistro at Maison de Ville in the Hotel Maison de Ville. After meeting Regina Keever four years later, she and Keever opened their internationally known restaurant Bayona in the French Quarter. Bayona experienced immediate success and was inducted into the Nation’s Restaurant News Fine Dining Hall of Fame in 1988, in addition to receiving an Ivy Award and being featured as one of New Orleans’s top five restaurants.
An entrepreneur, Spice continued to expand her business and opened up a specialty food market called Spice, Inc. that ran from 1997 to 1999. It provided a wide range of services such as take-out food, cooking classes, and an artisan bakery. With so much success, the market soon developed into Wild Flour Breads, which Spicer currently owns with Sandy Whann. In 2001, Spicer joined forces with The Kimpton Group to open Cobalt, just a year after debuting her restaurant Herbsaint with three other partners. After her Top Chef appearance in 2009, Spicer opened up a restaurant called Mondo in 2010 in the Lakeview neighborhood of New Orleans, where she has lived for 20 years.
In addition to the restaurant business, she also published a cookbook in 2007 entitled Crescent City Cooking: Unforgettable Recipes from Susan Spicer’s New Orleans, which went on to be nominated for Best American Cookbook by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. It was also awarded Best New Cookbook by New Orleans Magazine, and was included in the Best of the Best in a list of the top 25 cookbooks of the year.
With so many successful undertakings, it is no surprise that Spicer received the James Beard Award in 1993, as well as the Mondavi Culinary Excellence Award in 1995. She was also inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America. Her famous restaurant Bayona continues to make headlines, being inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame in 2012. More than just a celebrity chef speaker, she also works closely with humanitarian efforts such as Share Our Strength’s annual Taste of the Nation, as well as the hunger-relief fundraiser Taste of the NFL.
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