by Mousumi Behari
She’s sweet but fiery. She’s a neural engineer turned reality star. She’s Chef Suzy Singh – a medley of contradictions. And there are whispers that she could be the next big Food Star with her easygoing and bubbly personality. Our very own Mousumi Behari (featured in our Summer 2012 issue), and e-commerce strategist, caught up with Chef Suzy in her Chicago-based kitchen.
Suzy Singh burst into the living rooms of American families as a contestant on Fox’s much acclaimed Master Chef reality show on Season 2. Contestants had to prove their prowess in the kitchen to celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. By placing 4th, Suzy cemented the fact that the camera loves her, and yes, she can cook too. Once the show went off the air, Suzy created the first ever Indian food truck on the streets of Chicago, serving up unique combinations of samosas.
An interest in cooking lead Suzy to pursue an education from the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu. “I found my fuel,” she said, “I found my fire.” Ever since then, Suzy is dedicated to bringing Indian cuisine to the forefront of the American palate. She strongly believes in the integrity of food, and mixing East and West ingredients can often be tricky. “Fusion sometimes equals confusion. If you put a lot of the items together you aren’t going to get a good balance of either of those items. So you want to make sure you are able to honor the foundation of each cuisine,” she explains.
With the increasing number of intercultural marriages in the Indian community, you can mix up the cuisines to create a melding of cultures. “If you have an Indian marrying someone of Italian heritage, create butter chicken with ravioli or curry gnocchi.”
If you are pondering a fusion menu, Suzy stresses the importance of spices. “With Indian cuisine I would say: Stay true to the spice.” For another spin on the generation of Indian Americans who desire to add a little more of the West into their menu, Chef Suzy says to complement the cuisine with everyday items incorporating a fun twist. “A lot of people who are getting married are also very aware of and comfortable in many cultures, so you can do some bar foods. Do some chicken tikka burgers with masala fries and a spicy ketchup,” she says.
Between cooking, radio and television appearances, Suzy is making her mark on the culinary world, and staking her claim as a Princess of Innovative Fusion cuisine. From Thai Duck Samosas to Apple Pie Samosas, her twist on the traditional is proving to be a hit.
According to Chef Suzy, creating an individualized menu helps to make the wedding day more memorable for everyone. Her biggest tip for today’s modern bride: “When you are doing a wedding, it’s so personal. So why not personalize your menu?”
Photographer: Lara Phillips, LP Deezign Photography
Makeup Artist: Joni Laree, J Laree Artistry