Suzanne’s notoriety within the food scene of Toronto has come at a rapid rate, as word spread of a female chef breaking down barriers and nurturing young talent. Constantly speaking at events, trade shows and writing editorials for many press outlets in Toronto and abroad. Her brand and infamy are on a steady rise, taken into her daily stride as a restauranteur and mother.
Though she’s now one of Toronto’s leading female chefs with a signature flair for fresh comfort food and a passion for local community, Suzanne Barr’s background in the culinary world has seen her honing her skills in a variety of kitchens around the world. With a career that started in Hawaii at vegan restaurant Blossoming Lotus, Suzanne transferred her passion for plant-based food to the east coast to work as a vegan baker and sous chef in New York City, holding position as executive chef at rawfood supper club, The New Deal. As her reputation in the industry grew, Suzanne’s next venture as a personal chef found her travelling to some of the world’s most exciting gastronomic destinations of France, London, Spain, and Miami, a job that also piqued her interest in the relationship between food and physical and mental health.
A cookbook, A tribute, A love letter to my mother and the food I grew up eating. Rite of Passage takes us on a diaspora journey of modern Jamaican cuisine by sharing my mother's diverse stories which are now my stories -
- Chef Suzanne Barr
In 2013, Suzanne returned to her native Toronto to launch Pepper and Sprout Food, a platform designed to educate and promote healthy food choices through food styling workshops and healthy meal delivery. Shortly after in 2014, she opened her own restaurant, Saturday Dinette, a welcoming space with an evolving menu and eclectic vibe that draws loyal patrons from the surrounding neighbourhood and across the city. The brunch crowd lines up every weekend for Suzanne’s fresh take on breakfast, ranging from fragrant shakshuka to flavourful chicken and waffles, beautifully plated with her heart and soul evident in every bite. Through the opening of Saturday Dinette, Suzanne also launched The Dinettes, a program that employs women from the YWCA and provides them with restaurant experience and social skills - a true reflection of Suzanne’s passion for empowering females within the industry. The Dinettes program and aims to give women the ‘kickstart’ they need to thrive in the culinary world. Under Suzanne’s instruction and mentorship, the women will learn the fundamentals of running their own business, and at the same time, acquire the culinary skills and confidence needed to excel in the food industry.
"THE GLADSTONE HOTEL TURNS RESTAURANT BUSINESS MODEL ON ITS HEAD WITH INNOVATIVE CHEF IN RESIDENCE PROGRAM. The Hotel welcomed its first Chef in Residence Suzanne Barr of Leslieville’s popular Saturday Dinette."
TORONTO – June 28, 2017 - Mirroring how the Hotel works with artists, the Gladstone incubated professional Chefs to realize a creative vision and unique food concept with a curated experience.
FOR HER RESIDENCY, SUZANNE PUT TOGETHER A MENU UNLIKE ANY SHE’S DONE BEFORE. PULLING INSPIRATION FROM HER MOTHER’S COMMONWEALTH JOURNEY FROM JAMAICA TO THE UK, TO CANADA, THIS WAS BARR’S FIRST TIME AS A WORKING CHEF AND FIRST GENERATION CANADIAN TO ATTEMPT CRAFTING A COMPLETE MENU USING INGREDIENTS NATIVE TO HER MOTHER’S HOMELAND – WHILE INTERTWINING HER OWN UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE. GUESTS EXPERIENCED BARR’S RETRO JAMAICAN INSPIRED MENU ENTITLED, “RIGHT OF PASSAGE: A LOVE LETTER TO MY MOTHER AND OUR SHARED STORY OF CARIBBEAN IMMIGRATION TO CANADA, FOOD AND MEMORY”
Upon the completion of the Chef-In-Residence program, Suzanne stayed on and took on the mantra of executive chef at the Gladstone Hotel... more to come!!!