Interview: Chef Susan Feniger
Posted by Shannon on 12/16/2011
In a happenstance occurrence that made my month, Chef Susan Feniger was a guest speaker at my office on Wednesday. She opened the Team One All Agency meeting on a high note by sharing career stories about her rise to the upper echelons of her field.
Two things in particular struck me as admirable. First, after years in the culinary field, opening STREET restaurant in Santa Monica, time competing on Top Chef Masters, and who knows how many interviews… she still was enthusiastically game for my impromptu interview request.
The second insight from that day, was her ability to keep sight of so-simple-it’s-silly (and yet oh-so-hard-to practice) career advice. Her guiding questions over the years when she’s faced with a difficult decision are, “Does this make me feel good about who I am?” and “Does this make me feel good about what I do?” She said, “I haven’t ever evaluated things based on whether or not it was a ‘good business decision’.”
I snacked on this plate of STREET catered lunch as I typed up our interview.
What was the last meal you took a picture of?
I ate at a restaurant in NYC this week called Tertulia [menu]. They had a big wood fire oven and out of it came (she held her arms wide to demonstrate the size) a big bone-in roast. It must have been five pounds and (slaps me on the arm)… we ate all of it!
What do you want food bloggers to be aware of when they are writing about a restaurant?
That you might be able to get a bahn mi cheaper from the truck down the street, but be aware of the bigger picture with rent, food costs, putting a unique spin on it, and the costs of having a staff. It costs money to operate a restaurant and the prices are often influenced by that.
What is your favorite end of the day?
Popcorn. Any kind! It doesn’t matter what kind, whether it’s popped, butter, or salted.
The 7th floor Enterprise conference room has rarely seen such heavy traffic circling around its large table so quickly.
Many thanks to Chef Feniger and the crew at STREET for her generous advice and delicious lunch contributions!