Chef Allen Susser Talks Burger Battle and the Future, Part 2
|Chef Allen Susser at Jade Mountain resort.|
Clean Plate Charlie: You recently closed Chef Allen's after 25 years in business. What are you doing now?
Chef Allen Susser: Well, I'm doing some consulting in different fashions. In St. Lucia, I'm doing consulting with Jade Mountain. It's an amazing 24-room boutique hotel. I have an open type of audience there, and now I'm doing the Burger Bar. I'm consulting on a few things.
Almost immediately after the Japan earthquake and tsunami, you rallied other chefs to raise funds for the relief efforts. How is that going?
We're doing really well. We have one benefit planned in Seattle in another week, one in Portugal, and one in Morocco. We're still out there covering the world, and we're trying to wrap it up in June so we can send the money raised there. It's been effective and a lot of fun.
Do you know how much you've raised so far?
We're still working on it, but probably in the $40,000 to $50,000 range. Buddha Bar is one of our partners, and that figure can really change, because they have 17 outlets. It's been interesting. I enjoy doing things like this and taking a leadership role. A lot of people are willing to be a part of an event but don't necessarily know how to start. I also enjoy working with Taste of the Nation and the upcoming bake sale.
It sounds like you're busier than ever. It doesn't sound like you're slowing down or retiring.
That's not the plan, I tell you. That's not the plan at all.
Why, exactly, did you close Chef Allen's after so many years?
After 25 years, the lease was coming due, and I felt that there was so much more that I can do with food.I wanted to leave Chef Allen what it was and be able to move on to different things. Oprah did it after 25 years. I've loved what I've done with the restaurant. We had anniversaries, parties, weddings, engagements. So many happy occasions. But I felt like I wanted to do a lot of different things.
You also conducted cooking classes at the restaurant. Will you continue to teach?
I'm going to work on doing some cooking classes. I need to organize the schedule, which I will do in the next month or so. I get a lot of enjoyment in teaching.
Any more books coming out in the future?
Actually, I have a book that we're doing on Jade Mountain in St. Lucia. We're doing a presentation on local farms and the local fishermen in the area. Lots and lots of mangoes.
What do you want people to know about what you're doing in the future?
Watch for lots of new excitement at Burger Bar -- I want people to come there. I think it's a very current type of bistro. I want to continue to feed people and make them happy.
Stay tuned for a recipe from Chef Allen, coming soon.